Syndicate content

Archive - Jan 2017

January 2nd

Investigations into New Molecules That Could Potentially Treat Alzheimer's

This year, results have been published of two significant research studies about molecules that could potentially be used to treat Alzheimer's disease. The chief researcher in both studies was Dr. Yan Ivanenkov, the head of the Laboratory of Medical Chemistry and Bioinformatics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT). Papers on the two new molecules were published in Molecular Pharmaceutics and Current Alzheimer Research. Mark Veselov, another MIPT researcher, also participated in the second study. Both papers cover the study of neuroprotectors - antagonists to the 5-HT6R receptor. The latest research confirms that this target has a high therapeutic potential in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Preclinical studies on lab animals have shown that the two studied compounds have a high selectivity. Alzheimer's is one of the most widespread diseases in elderly people. People over the age of 60 are at the greatest risk of developing the disease, but it can also occur at a younger age. Patients suffer from loss of memory and cognitive functions; they become socially detached and lose their independence, and the body can no longer function properly, which inevitably leads to death. According to medical statistics, Alzheimer's is the cause of two out of every three cases of dementia in the elderly and it is a huge economic problem in developed countries. Scientists have not yet succeeded in finding an effective cure for Alzheimer's. Despite the fact that we know much about how the disease develops, we cannot say that we are even close to a solution. Pharmaceutical studies are still being conducted in order to be able to reduce the symptoms of the disease. In the first paper, specialists Alexander Ivashenko and Yan Lavrovsky from Alla Chem LLC, Avineuro Pharmaceuticals Inc., and R-Pharm Overseas Inc.

January 1st

Mother Describes Drug As “Miracle”--Researchers and Families Applaud FDA Approval of Life-Saving Antisense Oligonucleotide Drug; “Thousands of Families Will Now Be Able to See Their Loved Ones Benefit from the Drug’s Therapeutic Effects.”

Within a week of Christmas day, a drug called nusinersen (Spinraza) will be in the hands of doctors across the nation, who will use it, most urgently, to treat young children with a severe and potentially fatal illness called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The leading genetic cause of infant mortality, SMA is a motor neuron disease that leads to the wasting of young muscles, impairing the ability of newborns and toddlers to walk, crawl, or even hold their heads up, and in the most severe cases, failure of muscles that enable them to breathe. Nusinersen (to be sold by Biogen under the brand name Spinraza) was conceived and tested over several years in mouse models of SMA by Professor Adrian Krainer, Ph.D., and his colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) in collaboration with drug developers led by Dr. Frank Bennett at Ionis Pharmaceuticals. Their collaboration began a dozen years ago. “Some are understandably calling the FDA’s announcement of nusinersen’s approval ‘a Christmas surprise,’” Dr. Krainer commented. “For those of us who have had the thrilling experience of working on this drug from the very beginning, and have watched it succeed in reversing SMA pathology in animals—and more recently in young people with the illness—news of the approval is incredibly gratifying. Most gratifying to me is the thought that thousands of families will now be able to see their loved ones benefit from the drug’s therapeutic effects.” “This drug will save lives of young people with severe SMA, and will improve the lives of many thousands of older children and adults who have disabling forms of the disease,” said Bruce Stillman, Ph.D., President and CEO of CSHL.

Gut Microbiota Can Inhibit Intestinal Serotonin Transporter through Activation of Toll-Like Receptor 2 (TLR2)

Researchers have found evidence that could shed new light on the complex community of trillions of microorganisms living in all our guts, and how they interact with our bodies. Scientists at the University of Exeter Medical School in the UK and the University of Zaragoza in Spain studied a protein known as Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) (image), a critical detector of the microbiota found in the intestine. TLR2 is a microbiota recognition receptor that has been described to contribute to intestinal homeostasis and to ameliorate inflammatory intestinal injury. In this new study, the scientists found that TLR2 regulates levels of serotonin - a neurotransmitter which carries messages to the brain, and is also found in the gut, where it regulates our bowel routines. The research, carried out in cell cultures and verified in mice, provides strong evidence that microbiota can interfere with human physiology by modulating the serotonin transporter activity. Serotonin transporter is a target for numerous diseases and it seems that microbiota living in our guts are able to interfere with this transporter by activation of TLR2, controlling our serotonin levels. The finding, published online on December 29, 2016 in PLOS ONE, comes as scientists across the world are working to understand the complicated interactions between the "invisible world" of the microbiota in our bodies and the impact they have on our health and even our moods. The open-access PLOS One article is titled “Intestinal Serotonin Transporter Inhibition by Toll-Like Receptor 2 Activation. A Feedback Modulation.” The finding may also help explain how the microbiota in our guts affect our physiology. Inflammatory bowel disease is thought to be triggered when TLR2 is not functioning properly, but so far, the mechanisms behind this have not been fully understood.