In August 2022, researchers announced evidence that Terazosin “protects against the death of motor neurones”. This is a step towards an effective therapy for motor neurone disease (MND). The study, published in eBioMedicine, used funding from MND Scotland and the My Name’s Doddie Foundation. It was the result of a partnership between the University of Edinburgh and the University of Oxford
Professor Kevin Talbot of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences emphasised the need to “accelerate the way drugs are developed”. His team’s work combines approaches “to increase confidence” in drugs that slow disease progression.
“It represents an important new step in the search for therapies.”
MND is a rapidly progressing illness that weakens communication between the brain and the muscles. It affects around 5,000 adults in the UK. The average life expectancy is 3 years from the onset of symptoms. The chances of an adult getting MND are 1 in 300. As there is not cure for MND this research is particularly exciting. Although it is unclear why motor neurones die, experts know that a “decrease in energy” occurs at an early stage of the disease. Without energy, messages do not transmit between the brain and the muscles. This results in impaired movement.
Terazosin targets enlarged prostates or high blood pressure. However, it is also known to increase energy production in “models of stroke and Parkinson’s disease”. This research focused on an enzyme called PGK1 and found positive results in zebrafish, mice, and stem cell models. Next, the team will invite 50 patients from the Oxford MND Care and Research Centre to take part in a feasibility study.
Dr Jane Haley MBE of MND Scotland is “delighted” at the prospect of a feasibility study. She praised this collaboration as a “wonderful example” and hopes that it will provide a step towards a cure.
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