Failed dementia drug can help to heal diabetes sufferers

Failed dementia drug offers hope to diabetes sufferers after major breakthrough in the study of heart attacks and strokes

  • Leeds University scientists say a failed dementia drug can help treat diabetes 
  • BACE-inhibitors may be able to stop diabetes patients developing heart disease
  • But the trials showed that the drug fails to have any effect on Alzheimer’s 

A failed dementia drug could be used to treat diabetes instead, scientists revealed yesterday.

Trials have shown that BACE-inhibitors fail to have any effect on Alzheimer’s despite great initial hopes. 

But researchers at Leeds University found they can stave off the effects of metabolic syndrome.

Researchers and scientists at Leeds University revealed that a failed dementia drug can be used to treat diabetes 

Affecting one in four adults, the syndrome is the medical term for a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. 

Victims suffer blood-vessel damage that puts them at risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

It had not been clear exactly why metabolic syndrome causes cardiovascular disease.

But, in a major breakthrough, the Leeds team discovered that it fuels production of an enzyme called BACE1, which triggers the problems with blood vessels.

They believe drugs that inhibit the action of BACE1 may be able to stop diabetes patients developing heart disease. 

A trial in mice with diabetes had promising results. The findings, based on eight years of research, were published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Eddie Johnston of the charity Diabetes UK said: ‘We know that people living with diabetes are at higher risk of heart attacks or stroke, but we don’t yet know exactly why.

Trials revealed that BACE-inhibitors fail to have any effect on Alzheimer’s but do possess the enzymes to stop diabetes patients from developing heart disease

‘The new research helps to shed light on to the connection.

‘If the enzyme BACE1 is responsible for this increased risk, it represents a promising target for new treatments, which could help people with diabetes live longer, healthier lives.’

Dr Paul Meakin, study lead author, said: ‘The therapeutic effects of the experimental compound were marked, with the progression of disease in badly damaged blood vessels being reversed. 

‘Sometimes in science you look at the data you produce and there is the hint of something there – but the effects that we observed were dramatic.’

Professor Jeremy Pearson of the British Heart Foundation said tests on diabetes patients were now needed.

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