UW study examines potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

The well-known drug leuprolide is already approved by the FDA for other conditions.
Published: Nov. 3, 2023 at 11:45 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are conducting a trial to determine whether the drug leuprolide, which is approved for prostate cancer in men, can be used to treat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in women.

The goal of the trial, which is titled, Leuprolide plus Cholinesterase Inhibition to reduce Neurological Decline in Alzheimer’s, or LUCINDA, is to determine whether the injectable medication leuprolide can slow or prevent a decline in thinking abilities and functioning in women with Alzheimer’s disease who are also taking a cholinesterase inhibitor medication, such as donepezil, to manage disease symptoms.

“We are excited that we’re able to move this drug into a second phase two clinical trial with the hope that it will also show the same benefits that we saw in this previous trial,” Dr. Craig Atwood, professor of medicine at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, said.

The well-known drug leuprolide is already approved by the FDA for other conditions such as prostate cancer in men, endometriosis in women and early puberty in children. Dr. Atwood said the LUCINDA study is looking to repurpose this injectable drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Atwood also believes the drug will be relatively inexpensive and accessible to patients.

“It also maintained activities of daily living like being able to dress and being able to answer the phone for example. And that’s really important for the independence of subjects that have this disease,” Atwood said.

This study is led by a team at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York with enrollment underway at UW–Madison as well as the University of Miami, Florida.

To participate in the study, contact the UW Clinical Trials Institute at (608) 263-2704 or email mchilsen@clinicaltrials.wisc.edu. Participants must be women ages 65 and older who have been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment of Alzheimer’s disease and have been prescribed an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor like donepezil. Volunteers must have a family member or caregiver who spends at least five hours per week with them and who can also participate in all study visits.

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