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Alzheimer’s Treatment Memantine Shows Promise in Treating Sickle Cell Disease

Memantine, a standard treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, has shown promise in treating sickle cell disease (SCD) in six patients, a 12-month pilot clinical trial found. The findings were presented at the American Physiological Society’s Physiological and Pathophysiological Consequences of Sickle Cell Disease conference in Washington, D.C.

The study’s lead researcher, Anna Bogdanova PhD, presented the paper, titled “Treatment of the First Sickle Cell Disease Patients with Antagonist of N-Methyl D-Aspartate Receptor Memantine: Biological Outcome of the MemSID Trial.” Calcium levels in the red blood cells (RBCs) of people with SCD are often excessive. The team of Swiss researchers reasoned that inhibiting a kind of receptor on the cells, known as an NMDA receptor, which when activated allows calcium to enter cells, might reduce the damage potentially caused by calcium in the red blood cells of SCD patients.