New Compound Could Protect Brain Cells, Fight Neurodegenerative Diseases
December 8, 2010 10:09 AM
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Edward R. Biehl, co-discoverer of the HSB-13 compound
HSB-13 compound could halt diseases like Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's
Southern Methodist University (SMU)
University of Texas at Dallas
researchers have found hope for those suffering from diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's through the discovery of
a group of molecules
which could help protect the brain.
Edward R. Biehl, study leader and a synthetic organic chemist at SMU, and Santosh R. D'Mello, co-author of the study and a biology professor at UT Dallas, have developed the compounds in an effort to halt the onset of nerve-degenerative diseases and relieve symptoms.
Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and and Huntington's are neurodegenerative diseases in the central nervous system, and afflict more than five million Americans (mainly senior citizens). These diseases are caused by the immoderate loss of neurons in an area of the mid-brain, which leads to a decline in motor skills, such as walking and speaking, as well as
and behavior problems.
Previous treatments cannot halt or reverse these types of nerve-degenerative diseases. They only relieve symptoms, and sometimes even fail at that due to the severe side effects of these medications.
But now, Biehl and D'Mello have worked together to develop compounds that could potentially protect the brain from nerve-degenerative diseases. They came upon this discovery when developing synthetic chemicals that contained a class of heterocyclic organic compounds. One particular compound in the heterocyclic class proved to be
protective of neurons
in tissue culture models. Furthermore, this same compound, named HSB-13, has also proven to be effective in fighting neurodegenerative diseases in animal models.
"Our compounds protect against neurodegeneration in mice," said Biehl. "Given successful development of the compounds into drug therapies, they would serve as an effective treatment for patients with degenerative brain diseases."
HSB-13 not only decreased degeneration in the forebrain, but also corrected
. It has also proved to be nontoxic while remaining "extremely potent."
Biotechnology and therapeutics company EncephRx, which is based in Dallas, is looking to create drug therapies based on this new class of compounds. The company was granted worldwide license to the "jointly owned compounds," and when the research is complete, EncephRx's pharmaceuticals made of these small compounds will be the first therapeutic tools capable of protecting brain cells and keeping them from dying.
"Additional research needs to be done, but these compounds have the potential for stopping or slowing the relentless loss of brain cells in diseases such as
and Parkinson's," said D'Mello. "The protective effect that they display in tissue culture and animal models of neurodegenerative disease provides strong evidence of their promise as drugs to treat neurodegenerative disorders."
was published in the
Journal of Neuroscience Research
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/9/2010 12:00:23 AM
Prions cause mad cow disease and a similar syndrome in humans called Crutzfield-Jacobs disease. They do not cause Alzheimer's or any other neurodegenerative diseases that I am aware of. Alzheimer's is characterized by a build up of plaques and neurofillibrary tangles. They are abnormal proteins, but are not prions.
I wish the article had given some indication of how this drug works. I worked in a research lab for several years studying Alzheimer's disease, and there are many drugs that somewhat slow down the progression of the disease, but many have not lived up to what their developers hoped for because of either bad side effects or less than expected efficacy of treatment.
Here is hoping that maybe there is a significant advance.
12/9/2010 10:01:43 AM
According to these:
It inhibits three key enzymes that trigger cell death in these diseases, thus, stopping the progression. Probably won't cure it, meaning that the affected might need to live taking the compound. Maybe with another drug that triggers neurogenesis it could restore some functions to the brain.
I hope we see this available soon. There's nothing worse than to loose your cognitive skills IMO.
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