Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre - New Support for Alzheimer’s Drug Research

A trial led by Sunnybrook's Dr. Sandra Black investigating the potential for hypertension drugs to slow Alzheimer's disease progression is receiving support from a new funding collaboration between the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation of Canada and The W. Garfield Weston Foundation. 

"Hypertension has been suggested to be a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease for almost 30 years, yet we have not adequately translated this knowledge into the clinic for the benefit of patients. Dr. Black's study will begin to address this important issue in a novel study design, investigating the possibility that some anti-hypertensive agents may also be neuroprotective," said Howard Fillit, MD, executive director and chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. "We are grateful to The W. Garfield Weston Foundation for their collaboration in funding this important work."

Different classes of anti-hypertensive drugs may have different effects on the brain beyond just blood pressure control. In this study, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), will be compared for the treatment of hypertension in patients with Alzheimer's disease. 

"Our exploratory clinical study will compare ARBs versus ACEIs in a "face-off" to slow brain degeneration in people with Alzheimer's disease who are already taking medications to control blood pressure," said Dr. Sandra Black, the executive director of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance and director of the Brain Sciences Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute. "We will use brain imaging, and measure cognition and quality of life over a one year period to  compare the rate of brain shrinkage in the people on ACEIs vs. ARBs."

If positive, this study would lead to practice-changing implications, especially for hypertension control in Alzheimer's patients.  

"With a new mandate to accelerate the development of safe and effective breakthrough treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is pleased to support Dr. Black's compelling research through ADDF-Canada," said W. Galen Weston, chairman and president of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation.