Drug study shows promise in mice for vascular dementia

Dr-Stephen-Wren-in-the-lab-at-the-Alzheimers-research-UK-Oxford-Drug-Discovery-Institute-e1694510984918-1

By Ed Pinches | Wednesday 15 September 2021

Research investigating whether a drug already used to treat high blood pressure could be re-purposed as the first treatment to tackle vascular dementia shows promise in mice. The Journal of Clinical Investigation has published the findings today (Wednesday 15 September).

Our expert comment on the findings

Sara comments on morning sleep and dementiaDr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“While researchers are making important progress in dementia research, there are currently no drugs available to treat the symptoms of vascular dementia or stop the underlying disease. We know that high blood pressure is a risk factor for vascular dementia and looking at existing drugs targeting this is a sensible approach.

“While this research was conducted in mice and these are preliminary results, this early-stage study offers hope of a possible new way to treat vascular dementia. Ultimately the only way to see if the drug identified in this study could help people with vascular dementia and improve their symptoms is through clinical trials in people. This study also suggests that a protein called Kir2.1 could be a target for possible new approaches, but we need to know more about the role molecules like this play in the disease.

“Dementia research is making real strides forward but for too long, funding has lagged far behind other medical conditions. If we are to make life-changing breakthroughs for people with all forms of dementia, including vascular dementia, we need to see sustained commitment to funding research.”

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The full paper is published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Its title is ‘Differential restoration of functional hyperemia by antihypertensive drug classes in hypertension-related cerebral small vessel disease’.

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Ed Pinches