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Oct 11, 2012
 |  BC Innovations  |  Targets & Mechanisms

Repurposing naratriptan

Japanese researchers have shown in mice that GlaxoSmithKline plc's marketed migraine drug Amerge naratriptan could be repurposed to treat spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy.1 The pharma is not saying if it will pursue the new indication for the serotonin (5-HT1D) receptor agonist, but the academics who did the work are planning an investigator-led Phase II trial.

Spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA) involves degeneration of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord and brainstem of males. The degeneration causes progressive weakness and atrophy of facial, limb and bulbar muscles. The disease is caused by CAG glutamine repeats within the androgen receptor (AR) gene, which causes pathogenic AR accumulation in the nucleus of motor neurons.

There are no approved treatments for SBMA. Previous efforts to treat the disease have included strategies to eliminate the pathogenic AR accumulation such as treatment with the luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) analog leuprorelin. In 2010, however, Masahisa Katsuno and colleagues reported that leuprorelin failed to improve swallowing and muscle function in an investigator-led Phase II trial.2

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. markets Leuplin leuprorelin acetate to treat prostate cancer.

"Accumulation of abnormal protein is the primary molecular event as well as a substantial therapeutic target for neurodegenerative diseases. However, drugs that inhibit abnormal protein deposits, such as antibodies to b-amyloid and antiandrogens...

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