Scientists working at PharmaKure, a drug discovery company spun out from The University of Manchester’s UMIP programme, are hoping that their research into new uses for old drugs may soon bring hope to Alzheimer’s patients. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of senile dementia, affecting more than 15 million people worldwide, and it is also the fourth biggest killer in Britain today, behind only heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
It is, therefore, a great concern that there are currently no drugs to cure Alzheimer’s, and that the best available only alleviate symptoms for 6-12 months. However, based upon recent research, PharmaKure has just patented its first drug for Alzheimer’s treatment and is currently looking for investment to fund the necessary screening and trials.
The drug, known as PK-048, was first discovered in the 1980s. Envisaged as a drug candidate for Parkinson’s disease, it had never been tested for treatment of Alzheimer’s. Previous trials have shown that the drug is orally active, non-toxic, and crosses the blood-brain barrier, a crucial requirement for an Alzheimer’s drug. Commenting on trials of the drug, Dr Farid Khan, said:
“The potential for PK-048 to help alleviate the symptoms and potentially cure Alzheimer’s disease is really exciting. 30% of all newly marketed medicines are either existing drugs or formulations of old drugs which have been shown to be safe in patients. If these can be found to work for other diseases then development costs and risks can be drastically reduced, creating a huge investment potential.”
Discussing the potential of the research on PK-048 and other drugs which could have new uses, MSP Chief Executive, Rowena Burns, added:
“The impact of PharmaKure’s research will have a worldwide reach and help to cement Manchester’s reputation as a centre of excellence in life sciences.”