Viagra associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease

NIH:

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia. It is expected to affect 16 million Americans by 2050. The hallmarks of AD are amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Efforts to develop new drugs that directly target amyloid or tau proteins haven’t yielded significant clinical benefits for patients. Another approach to developing AD treatments would be to seek existing drugs that could potentially be repurposed.

A team of researchers led by Dr. Feixiong Cheng at the Cleveland Clinic developed a computational method for identifying FDA-approved drugs that might be effective against AD. NIH’s National Institute of Aging (NIA) supported the study. Results appeared in Nature Aging on December 6, 2021.

The researchers began by identifying genes associated with AD pathology. Then they constructed a network of molecular interactions connecting these genes. They focused on the subset of genes associated with both amyloid plaques and tau tangles, instead of one or the other. They also constructed networks of drugs and their molecular targets for more than 1,600 FDA-approved drugs. Then they calculated the relationships between each drug’s targets and the AD network components.

The team identified 66 drugs with the closest relationships to AD-associated genes. Many are already being tested in ongoing AD clinical trials, proving the soundness of the approach. After considering other factors, the top candidate was sildenafil, also known by the brand names Viagra and Revatio. Sildenafil is FDA-approved to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. 

Read more at NIH

Join now!