Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alzheimer's Protection? Appealing The Death Sentence For Brain Cells

Date:
June 1, 2008
Source:
Tel Aviv University
Summary:
A new drug candidate could provide protection against Alzheimer's disease. This compound could also treat a number of diseases where patients suffer from cognitive deficits, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s, by limiting damage to the brain. The new drug candidate, known as AL-108, was found to protect American patients with mild cognitive damage against memory loss by protecting the skeleton and transport system of brain cells.

A new drug candidate discovered by Tel Aviv University researcher Prof. Illana Gozes may lead to an effective treatment against the debilitative Alzheimer’s disease. This compound could also treat a number of diseases where patients suffer from cognitive deficits, such as schizophrenia and Parkinson’s, by limiting damage to the brain.

The new drug candidate, known as AL-108, was found to protect American patients with mild cognitive damage against memory loss by protecting the skeleton and transport system of brain cells. The new drug candidate has passed its Phase II clinical studies in U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved clinical trials. AL-108 is currently being developed by the Canada-based Allon Therapeutics Inc.

An Emphasis on Living Brain Cells

“My logic is that if you try to protect a dead cell, it won’t work. We need to protect the living cell between the death sentence of having Alzheimer’s and actual cell death,” says Prof. Gozes. Her discovery, now the drug candidate AL-108, provides nerve cell protection. Publications reporting on the efficacy of AL-108 in animal models have appeared in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Journal of Molecular Neuroscience, the Journal of Biological Chemistry and many more.

Prof. Gozes, a co-founder of Allon Therapeutics and the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, targeted support cells in the brain known as glia, which make up the majority of cells in the brain and are those that facilitate brain repair. She hypothesized that proteins produced by glia, and responsive to brain injury, may be able to repair the damage caused by neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Like Train Rails Without Ties

Prof. Gozes and her team discovered a protein (ADNP) involved in brain repair, but if developed into a drug it would be too large to cross the blood-brain barrier. Cutting the protein into fragments, Prof. Gozes determined a small portion of the protein (NAP) provides potent neuroprotection by protecting nerve cells against severe oxidative stress and the toxicity associated with diseases such as Alzheimer’s. AL-108, the drug candidate under development now, is an intranasal formulation based on NAP.

What happens in the nerve cells of Alzheimer’s brains can be likened to a derailed train, says Prof. Gozes. The nerve cell skeleton —the microtubules — are like the rails, and a protein called “tau” functions like the ties between the rails. In Alzheimer’s, the ties fall off, the tracks fall apart and nerve cells die. AL-108 however, seems to prevent this process from accelerating.

AL-108, which could be ready in as early as 5 years, targets the microtubules and protects against amyloid plaques —a characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. AL-108 also seems to be able to maintain brain microtubule functioning, preventing memory loss and the deterioration of other cognitive functions, such as learning abilities, in those whose mental functioning has already started to decline.

“It’s important to stress that these are drug candidates in clinical development in North America for now, and will not be ready for several years,” says Prof. Gozes, who co-founded Allon Therapeutics with Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer arm Ramot.

International Collaboration with United States Organizations

Support for basic science conducted at Professor Gozes’ laboratory at Tel Aviv University was and is obtained in part from the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, which originally supported her partnership with Dr. Douglas Brenneman from the National Institutes of Health in the U.S. to advance the basic research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Tel Aviv University. "Alzheimer's Protection? Appealing The Death Sentence For Brain Cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080529162711.htm>.
Tel Aviv University. (2008, June 1). Alzheimer's Protection? Appealing The Death Sentence For Brain Cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080529162711.htm
Tel Aviv University. "Alzheimer's Protection? Appealing The Death Sentence For Brain Cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080529162711.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins