Clinical study to research use of erectile dysfunction drug to treat vascular dementia

December 12, 2014

On the 1-year anniversary of the first G8 summit on dementia, new funding has been announced for a study to research the use of tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis; Eli Lilly), an erectile dysfunction drug, for the treatment of vascular dementia.

On the 1-year anniversary of the first G8 summit on dementia, new funding has been announced for a study to research the use of tadalafil (Adcirca, Cialis; Eli Lilly), an erectile dysfunction drug, for the treatment of vascular dementia.

The first study of its kind will be jointly funded by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the Alzheimer’s Society UK, creating a cross-Atlantic research partnership of 2 charities for this major research program.

Currently, it is estimated that there are more than 1 million cases of vascular dementia in the United States. The second most common form of dementia, vascular dementia is the result of damage to the small blood vessels in the brain, which causes reduced blood flow to brain tissue. Tadalafil works by dilating blood vessels, so the research will examine whether the drug can help prevent vascular dementia by increasing this blood flow to the brain.

The clinical study will be undertaken by Dr Atticus Hainsworth of St. George’s University of London. Dr. Hainsworth and colleagues are being given almost $500,000 in funding for this research. This support by the ADDF and the Alzheimer’s Society UK is another example of their commitment to repurposing, whereby already approved FDA drugs being used for other diseases are tested for their potential to effectively treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

The ADDF and the Alzheimer’s Society UK also announced that they will provide $250,000 to Professor Christian Holscher of Lancaster University, who will research whether the onset of Alzheimer’s disease could be reversed by the use of experimental drugs for diabetes mellitus. Professor Holscher has previously studied the use of the diabetes drug liraglutide (Victoza, Novo Nordisk), finding that it has the capability of reversing memory loss and plaque build-up in Alzheimer’s disease. The new research will examine the viability of 2 new diabetes drug candidates to determine their similar or better effectiveness on these key aspects of the disease.