Asthma drug shows promise for Alzheimer's, researchers say
The asthma drug Zileuton (5-lipoxygenase) has demonstrated that it can reduce the formation of beta amyloid, the peptide in the brain linked to the development of Alzheimer's, according to researchers with the Temple University School of Medicine.
The investigators—who tested the drug on laboratory mice—found that the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase controls the part of the brain responsible for the production of beta amyloid. Excessive volume of beta amyloid can cause neuronal death, and cause the formation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Alzheimer's specialists determine the severity of Alzheimer's in a patient by measuring the levels of beta-amyloid plaques.
The researchers, led by Domenico Praticò, said they are optimistic about new studies with the drug, partly because it is already known to be accepted by the human body.
"This drug is already on the market and, most importantly, is already FDA-approved, so you don't need to go through an intense drug discovery process," Praticò said. “So we could quickly begin a clinical trial to determine if there is a new application for this drug against a disease where there is currently nothing."
The study is published in the April issue of the American Journal of Pathology.