Chinese researchers in collaboration with scientists from the University of Iowa have today published new research suggesting that a drug, called Terazosin - which is used to treat enlarged prostates and high blood pressure - could be a useful drug to re-purpose for Parkinson's.

The researchers found that Terazosin could boost the the levels of Adenosine Triphosphate (or ATP, which is the fuel which cells run on) in the brains of mice. They also reported that Terazosin treatment could rescue multiple preclinical models of Parkinson's (including flies, rodents, and human cell cultures).

Importantly, the investigators analysed medical databases and found that people who are treated with Terazosin have a reduced incidence of Parkinson's. In addition, individuals with Parkinson's who are treated with Terazosin have a slower rate of decline in motor function (although this data was based on a small sample of people). Based on these exciting results, the researchers are currently engaged in planning a set of Phase 1 clinical studies that are already funded and starting to recruit participants in Iowa. Phase 1 studies are designed to understand the safety and tolerability of a drug.

The rescue of ATP levels by Terazosin is very similar to a drug that is currently being trialled in Sheffield and London, that was prioritised by our Linked Clinical Trials committee, called UDCA. UDCA is a medication that is commonly used for treating gall stones. Although UDCA and Terazosin have different mechanisms of action, preclinical research has demonstrated that UDCA can also restore ATP levels and rescue various models of Parkinson's. The Phase II UP Study (“UDCA in Parkinson’s”) is currently being conducted in Sheffield and London and is being co-funded by CPT. Read more on this here.

Read the new study on Terazosin here. 

CPT's Deputy Director of Research, Dr Simon Stott, commented:

"This new research represents yet another example of how clinically-available drugs can be re-purposed for Parkinson's - a process that CPT has pioneered. If this data can be independently replicated and expanded on, it will be very interesting to see what effect Terazosin has in clinical trials for Parkinson's."

To read more on the background science of Terazosin, see Dr Simon Stott's blog.