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Appealing the death sentence for brain cells
Date:5/29/2008

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, 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 d
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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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