In a new study, researchers developed an artificial intelligence-based method to screen currently available medications as possible treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
They found several anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and blood cancers may work well.
The new method is a rapid and inexpensive way to repurpose existing therapies into new treatments for this progressive, debilitating neurodegenerative condition.
The research was conducted by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS).
Repurposing FDA-approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease is an attractive idea that can help accelerate the arrival of effective treatment.
In the study, the team built a framework for prioritizing drugs, helping clinical studies to focus on the most promising ones.
The framework DRIAD (Drug Repurposing In Alzheimer’s Disease) works by measuring what happens to human brain neural cells when treated with a drug.
The method then determines whether the changes induced by a drug correlate with molecular markers of disease severity.
The team applied the screening method to 80 FDA-approved and clinically tested drugs for a wide range of conditions.
The analysis yielded a ranked list of candidates, with several anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and blood cancers emerging as top contenders.
These drugs belong to a class of medications known as Janus kinase inhibitors.
The drugs work by blocking the action of inflammation-fueling Janus kinase proteins, suspected to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and known for their role in autoimmune conditions.
The team’s analyses also pointed to other potential treatment targets for further investigation.
They hope that further validation by other researchers will refine the prioritization of these drugs for clinical investigation.
One author of the study is Artem Sokolov, Ph.D.
The study is published in Nature Communications.
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