USA – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has reported that Bumetanide, a common and potent diuretic pill might hold the key to lowering the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in people who are genetically predisposed to the illness.
The study included an analysis that found those who took Bumetanide, had a significantly lower prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease than those who did not.
The study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a branch of the National Institutes of Health, advances a precision medicine approach for people who are predisposed to the disease due to their genetic makeup.
The findings, published in Nature Aging show that the drug, bumetanide, reversed signs of Alzheimer’s disease in mice as well as human brain cells in lab dishes.
The new study also details real-world data gleaned from millions of patients’ electronic health records, revealing that people over the age of 65 who took bumetanide on a regular basis were 35 percent to 75 percent less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Additionally, bumetanide’s potential for treating Alzheimer’s is bolstered by the fact that it is already FDA-approved and has a long track record of safety.
“Developing new drug targets for Alzheimer’s disease takes a lot of time and money, so we wanted to find a faster way to move drugs to patients,” said Yadong Huang, a neurobiologist at Gladstone Institutes and a co-author of the new study.
Genetics plays a significant role in Alzheimer’s development. The presence of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, which can also lead to dementia and cardiovascular disease, is one of the primary risk factors for late-onset Alzheimer’s.
APOE mediates fat metabolism in mammals but is also known to be a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s. It is the APOE4 version of the gene that predisposes a person to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
About 25 percent of people possess one copy — which raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by three- to four-fold.
The NIH admits that more research and clinical trials are needed to confirm bumetanide’s efficacy. It also stated that it is hopeful that some existing FDA-approved drugs will be candidates for drug repurposing to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
However, since efforts to develop drugs for the disease have been plagued by failures and controversy, the findings point to a therapeutic approach that is vastly different from the one that has dominated for the past three decades.
“This is a drug with a well-established safety record, so it could reach patients much faster than typical drug development takes,” Gladstone Institute researcher and study coauthor Yadong Huang said in a statement.
The new finding is great news for starting a clinical trial to truly test whether bumetanide can help fight Alzheimer’s and Huang and his team are already in advanced discussions with other medical centers about establishing one.
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