"This is another example of laboratory work on Alzheimer's disease testing existing drugs to see if they have activity," said Gandy, who's also director of Emory University's Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. "We have been down this road with Epogen, with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; now we're going down the road with statins."
What's needed, he said, is "a real controlled clinical trial to see if it [valsartan] works. Just because it makes sense, and the evidence looks good, doesn't mean that it is going to work. The acid test is a clinical trial."
Gandy said he has become wary of reports such as the one from Pasinetti "because of our experience with estrogen." Early reports said the female sex hormone was highly promising as an Alzheimer's preventive treatment, but it failed in a controlled trial.
Panisetti said his group now is trying to determine the potential mechanism by which valsartan and the other drugs might work against Alzheimer's disease. "We are working primarily on the brain rather than on blood pressure," he said.
To learn more about Alzheimer's, visit the Alzheimer's Association.
SOURCES: Giulio Maria Pasinetti, M.D., professor, psychiatry and neurosciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City; Sam Gandy, M.D., chairman, Alzheimer's Association's medical and scientific advisory council, and director, Emory University Center for Neurocognitive Disease, Atlanta; Oct. 26, 2007, Journal of Clinical Investigation
All rights reserved