Drug used to treat glaucoma may have potential as Alzheimer treatment

brimonidine, a drug routinely used to lower eye pressure in glaucoma patients, has been found to reduce the formation of amyloid proteins in the retina, in trials on rats, that are believed to be linked to Alzheimer’s.

Amyloid plaques can be seen in the retinas of people with Alzheimer’s, so the researchers say the retina can be viewed as an extension of the brain that gives an opportunity to diagnose and track the progression of Alzheimer’s.

Scientists foundbrimonidine reduces neurodegeneration of cells in the retina by cutting the levels of beta amyloid in the eye. This was achieved by using the drug to stimulate the production of an alternative non-toxic protein which does not kill nerve cells.

The researchers hope that the drug will have a similar effect on the brain, although this was not tested in the current study.

“The findings of our study could not have come at a more significant and important moment, given the increased prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease. As we live longer, there will be increasing demand for therapies that can help challenge this extremely damaging disease and we believe that our findings can make a major contribution,”

said Professor Francesca Cordeiro (UCL Institute of Ophthalmology) who led the study.


The EIWH is a partner in the new EU funded Alzheimer project,  Mopead.

The MOPEAD project (Models of Patient Engagement for Alzheimer’s Disease), is designed to assess different Patient Engagement models across Europe, to identify efficient approaches of earlier identification of mild AD dementia and prodromal AD patients.


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