Canada’s IntelGenx has launched a Phase 2a proof-of-concept trial to explore whether the asthma medication montelukast (Singulair) may be an option for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

The idea that montelukast — also used to treat hay fever — may succeed where other approaches have failed, stems from research at Austria’s Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg.

A team led by Dr Ludwig Aigner has showed that montelukast has several properties that could be valuable for treating Alzheimer’s. It prevents inflammatory processes, driven by factors called leukotrienes. Experiments also show that it boosts the production of nerve cell progenitors.