Alzheimer's Disease
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders reacts to an Alzheimer’s statistic while at the Family Caregiver Roundtable at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa, November 15, 2015. Reuters/Brian C. Frank

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and the National Institutes of Health say that an FDA-approved drug, used to treat high blood pressure, reduces cell damage that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, published online in the journal Alzheimer's Research and Therapy, points out the potential effects of the drug candesartan and other Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) if used in early treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

A lot of research is being undertaken to find an answer to Alzheimer’s cause, its potential treatments and means of reducing its progression. On Jan. 14, a team of scientists discovered that Alzheimer’s early detection may be possible through urine odour of a person, which in turn may lead to a non-invasive test to determine the most common form of dementia.

Also read New Alzheimer’s drug: Study linking environmental toxin to Alzheimer’s, opens up new drug possibility

In yet another experiment, a University of Southampton-led study suggested that blocking a receptor in the brain, known as CSF1R, which is responsible for regulating immune cells may help in checking progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It will do so by protecting against behaviour and memory changes, commonly seen in Alzheimer’s.

In this new study, the researchers found after in-depth gene analysis of laboratory results that drug candesartan prevented neuronal inflammation and numerous other pathological processes, which included alterations in amyloid metabolism, a trademark of Alzheimer’s disease. It also prevented glutamate-induced neuronal death.

“We hypothesize that candesartan, or other members of the ARB group, may not only slow progression of Alzheimer's but also prevent or delay its development,” said Juan M. Saavedra, the study’s senior author and MD, from GUMC's Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, reports EurekAlert.

Abdel G. Elkahloun, PhD, from the Comparative Genomics and Cancer Genetics Branch of the National Human Genome Research Institute and also the study's first author, compared gene expression in neuronal cultures with published gene databases of autopsy samples from Alzheimer's disease patients. Candesartan normalised gene expressions in the neuronal cultures.

According to the researchers, the study has instant translational value and recommended testing the drug candesartan and other ARBs in controlled clinical studies on early stage Alzheimer’s patients.