A drug used to treat enlarged prostates can be a powerful cure for Parkinson's disease, according to an international team of scientists.
Terazosin helps to alleviate benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) by relaxing the bladder and prostate muscles.
But researchers believe there is another useful effect on Parkinson's-damaged brain cells.
It is said that the drug may delay Parkinson's development ̵
They examined thousands of patients with both BPH and Parkinson's.
Their findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, suggest that the alpha-blocker prevents brain cells from being destroyed.
Parkinson is a progressive condition affecting the brain for which there is currently no cure.
Existing Parkinson's treatments may help with some of the symptoms but may not delay or reverse the neuronal loss arising from the disease.
Terazosin can help by activating an enzyme called PGK1 to prevent brain cell death, say researchers at the University of Iowa in the US and the Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders, China.
When tested for a drug in rodents, it appears to delay or stop the loss of nerve cells.
To begin to evaluate whether the drug could have the same effect in humans, they searched the medical records of millions of American patients to identify men with BPH and Parkinson's.
They examined 2880 Parkinson's patients taking terazosin or similar drugs targeting PGK1 and a comparison group of 15 409 Parkinson's patients who had undergone different BPH treatment that had no effect on PGK1.
Patients on PGK1-targeted drugs appear to be better at addressing the symptoms and progression of Parkinson's disease, which, according to the researchers, requires more studies in clinical trials that they plan to begin this year.
Lead researcher Dr. Michael Welsh says that while it is premature to talk about treatment, the findings have the potential to change the lives of people with Parkinson's disease.
"Today, we have zero treatments that change the progressive course of this neurodegenerative disease," she says.
"This is a terrible condition because as you get older, Parkinson's disease becomes more common.
" So this is really an exciting area of research. "
" Changing the Disease "
Given that terazosin has a proven track record of treating BPH, he says that its acceptance and" re-appointment "as a Parkinson's drug should be achievable if clinical trials are to pass  Trials that will take several years will compare the drug to placebo to make sure it is safe and effective in Parkinson.
Co-Investigator Dr. Nandakumar Narayan, who treats patients with Parkinson said: "We need these randomized horse trials
"If they were, that would be great."
Prof. David Dexter of the UK at Parkinson said: "These exciting results show that terazosin can to have the hidden potential to slow down Parkinson's progression, something that is desperately needed to help people live well for a longer time.
"While in early days, both animal models and studies examining people who already take drugs show promising signs that need to be further investigated."