# # # #
Drug repurposing represents a means of rapidly testing and bring novel therapies to the patient. By testing clinically available drugs – that have well characterised safety records in a particular medical condition – one can determine if a certain biological pathway is playing an influential role in another disease.
A good example of this is work currently being done by researchers at the University of Iowa with a drug called terazosin. Terazosin is a treatment used for enlarged prostate issues and high blood pressure, but recent epidemiological data and preclinical work indicates that it may also be useful for Parkinson’s.
Recently the team in Iowa published a report on a small pilot clinical study evaluating the agent in a group of people with Parkinson’s.
In today’s post, we will look at what terazosin does, discuss what the preclinical and epidemiological research suggests, review the results of the pilot study, and discuss what could happen next.
# # # #
There has been a lot of important Parkinson’s research conducted in the state of Iowa.
For example, in addition to producing a quarter of the USA’s corn and 1/3 of America’s pork, Iowa is also the home to a large family known to researchers as the ‘Iowa kindred‘ or ‘Spellman-Muenter kindred‘.
First described by Spellman in 1962, the Iowa kindred has a long history in which generations of the family have been inflicted with severe parkinsonisms (the symptoms/features of PD). In the family tree below, the black diamonds represent individuals with Parkinsonisms:
In 2003, researchers discovered that this family was carrying a multiplication of their alpha synuclein gene:
Title: alpha-Synuclein locus triplication causes Parkinson’s disease.
Authors: Singleton AB, Farrer M, Johnson J, Singleton A, Hague S, Kachergus J, Hulihan M, Peuralinna T, Dutra A, Nussbaum R, Lincoln S, Crawley A, Hanson M, Maraganore D, Adler C, Cookson MR, Muenter M, Baptista M, Miller D, Blancato J, Hardy J, Gwinn-Hardy K.
Journal: Science. 2003 Oct 31;302(5646):841.
The publication of this report was an important moment in Parkinson’s research history (Click here to read a SoPD post about the early history of alpha synuclein).
More recently, some researchers at the University of Iowa are hoping to continue this legacy of important Parkinson’s research by investigating the potential of a clinically available drug to slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
Which drug are they investigating?