The collaboration between the researchers has been transformative, showcasing the surprising potential for repurposing drugs across seemingly unrelated medical conditions.
Sometimes a solution might be staring right at your face, while you are going all over the world searching for it. This is what happened with Brown University’s Surendra Sharma and Sukanta Jash who discovered that the cure they were searching for preeclampsia had already been made for Alzheimer's, reports Good News Network. It was a surprising development but welcomed by both the professors who look forward to making more advancements, to present it as a complete treatment plan for pregnant women. They have already tested the cure on mice, and surprisingly it delivered good results.
Preeclampsia is a disorder that occurs in pregnant women. In this disorder expecting mothers suffer from high blood pressure. Other symptoms like gastrointestinal tension are also seen. The disorder can cause organs like the kidney and liver to cease working. Postpartum preeclampsia also occurs, where the disorder happens in new mothers. It is among the leading causes of women losing their children during pregnancy. The disorder contributes to both maternal and fetal mortality. There is a risk of premature delivery, complications with the placenta and lack of oxygen. Almost 8% of pregnancies in the world end up complicated because of this condition.
Dr. Sharma and Dr. Jash decided to look into the antibody created for Alzheimer's when they realized that cis P-tau protein is found abundantly in the brains of people suffering from this condition. Coincidentally, it was also a marker for Preeclampsia. This protein was brought to light by Drs. Kun Ping Lu and Xiao Zhen Zhou from Western Ontario University. Dr. Zhou whose research was directed at Alzheimer's, was in the process of conducting a drug trial that targeted this amyloid, in the brain. Her objective was to ensure that the drug only attacked that particular protein and no other element that was present in the organ.
Drs. Sharma and Jash heard of it and thought that there would be no harm in applying the same drug for their research. They got permission and used the drug on mouse models with pre-eclampsia. The results were positive. “In this study, we found the cis P-tau antibody efficiently depleted the toxic protein in the blood and placenta, and corrected all features associated with preeclampsia in mice,” Dr. Sharma told the Western University Press.
The mouse model showed significant improvement in features like elevated blood pressure, excessive protein in urine, and fetal growth restriction, among others. The model went in to enjoy a normal pregnancy. The team was exceedingly happy and more charged than ever to make further improvements. Lu and Sharma knew each other from before, having met in 2019. Lu came to give a lecture at Brown, where both the researchers met. Lu said about the significant discovery, “Science surprises us. I had never thought of working on finding a therapy for preeclampsia. It also shows that collaboration can be transformative.”
Sharma and his team's next agenda is to create a system by which preeclampsia can be detected early in pregnant women. At present, the diagnosis occurs at around 20 weeks, with pregnancy going normally for the first 5 months. Early diagnosis could be massive in treating the condition. The team also wants to develop more methods of treatment, to eradicate the condition and its impact. Sharma believes that recent findings, especially with the Alzheimer's drug, have been a huge step forward.