Inflammation, Alzheimer’s disease and a well-tested substance

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What we can learn from our competitors

A recent study investigates the correlation between chronic inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.
Foto: © Fotolia

In our last blog entry, our CEO Dr. Wolfgang Brysch replied to the question: “Does MetrioPharm have competition? You can find the full article here. In this article we take a closer look at a drug that has already been tested.

If a patient suffers from an autoimmune disease, for example psoriasis, his physician will probably prescribe the substance Methotrexate. Originally developed as a cancer drug, it is also used in lower doses to treat autoimmune diseases.

The drug regulates the immune system and thus alleviates the symptoms of the disease. However, the effort involved in this treatment is considerable: For maximum efficacy, the drug needs to be injected intravenously once a week.

Since Methotrexate is toxic to the liver, the blood parameters of patients must be monitored continuously. The risk of infection also increases significantly. Other typical side effects include nausea, severe indigestion and persistent fatigue. Many patients have to discontinue treatment because of these side effects.

However, depending on the severity of the disease, therapy may be continued even in cases of poor tolerability. For patients with rheumatoid arthritis, for example, strong side effects can be more bearable than the burden of suffering from the disease. Despite all these problems, Methotrexate has shown for years that chronic inflammatory diseases can be treated under certain conditions. An agent with a particularly good safety profile, such as MP1032, could massively improve patients’ quality of life.

But there is more to be learned from Methotrexate.

For some time now, physicians have suspected that there could be a connection between inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease. However, this hypothesis is difficult to verify. Available drugs such as Methotrexate cannot be prescribed prophylactically due to the poor safety profile. Thus, it is difficult to clarify with the help of a large comparative study whether Methotrexate ingested at an early stage can protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

But perhaps one can learn from patients who must take the drug anyway – for example because they suffer from an autoimmune disease?

Scientists from Oxford University and the NIHR Southhampton Biomedical Research Center have systematically addressed this issue. They examined the case histories of 5,800 patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The result of this current study: 1,924 patients had received no therapy, 3,876 had been treated with Methotrexate. In the treated group, the number of Alzheimer’s diseases was reduced by 50 %.

Regular use of an anti-inflammatory drug can thus reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and apparently even halve it. Methotrexate provides an initial indication of the possibilities offered by early intervention: A well-tolerated drug could open up remarkable opportunities for patients – far beyond the treatment of one single indication.