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'Buckyballs' to treat multiple sclerosis
Date:3/19/2009

disease that robs people of the ability to control their motor movements. No one knows exactly how many people are afflicted with MS. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, it is estimated that there are currently more than 350,000 people in the United States, who have been diagnosed with MS, where approximately 200 new cases are diagnosed each week. Current state-of-the-art therapies like the Israeli-invented Copaxone clearly help, but may not be enough, says Dr. Gozin, whose wide-ranging research has included work on classified projects for the U.S. Department of Defense.

"Multiple sclerosis is a very serious clinical condition," says Dr. Gozin. "I had a dream, an idea for a new kind of drug." He took this idea to MS expert Prof. Howard Weiner at Harvard University, and the two began a collaboration.

"I wanted to target with antioxidants specific receptors in the brain, which are involved in the disease progress, to stall the deterioration of motor function in MS sufferers," Dr. Gozin says. The US-Israeli researchers started from the belief that buckyballs, and brain-targeted moieties attached to them, may be able to achieve success in treating MS.

A Dose of C60

"We've created a molecule based on the C60 fullerene, a soccer-ball-shape, with great biomedical potential," says Dr. Gozin. The Tel Aviv University team, including graduate student Amnon Bar-Shir, was the first to synthesize and patent this application, which is "programmed" to target specific receptors in the brain. "We are presently working on the next generation of this type of molecules, containing less exotic and more natural building blocks," Dr. Gozin reports.


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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert  

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