Last week, researchers published evidence that a class of drugs commonly used for the treatment of prostate enlargement may have beneficial properties for Parkinson’s.

This announcement also highlights yet another potential Parkinson’s treatment repurposing a clinically available medication for Parkinson’s.

In 2019, scientists reported that a drug called terazosin exhibited neuroprotective properties in preclinical research of Parkinson’s. The drug was found to boost energy levels in cells and rescue models of Parkinson’s in the lab. This news caused some excitement, because it was quickly noted that this clinically available medication that is used for treating enlarged prostates could have potential to be repurposed for treating Parkinson’s. A clinical trial is currently being completed at the University of Iowa, assessing how safe terazosin is in 20 people with Parkinson’s, and we await the announcement of these results.

Additional research is being conducted on terazosin to build a picture around how this drug may affect Parkinson’s, and the recent research report provides further evidence for use of terazosin as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s.

While these results needs to be independently replicated across other large datasets, the findings also provide broader support for the concept of repurposing already available medications. Whilst terazosin may not be the best drug for treating Parkinson’s, if it can be rapidly used as a proof-of-principle test of efficacy, then better drugs can be developed based on this going forward.

Cure Parkinson’s has embraced this idea in our International Linked Clinical Trials programme with repurposed drugs like the diabetes drug exenatide, the respiratory medication ambroxol and the gallstone treatment UDCA. Once there is some evidence of effect, associated parties can step in and begin designing better, more effective molecules. The Neuraly diabetes molecule NLY-01 which is being trialled in people with Parkinson’s, is such an example.

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