Navigation Links
Michael J. Fox Foundation Awards One Million Dollars for Development of 'Trojan Horse' Delivery Technology to Treat Parkinson's Disease
Date:8/15/2008

NEW YORK, Aug. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of its mission to drive transformative treatments and a cure for Parkinson's disease, The Michael J. Fox Foundation today announced that it would award Santa Monica-based biotech ArmaGen Technologies, Inc., up to $1 million if all milestones are met to take practical steps toward developing a "Trojan horse" delivery technology for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.

ArmaGen's novel approach would use molecular bio-engineering techniques to "trick" the brain into allowing large-molecule (e.g. protein-based) therapeutics across the blood-brain barrier in order to access targeted regions of the brain and address the neuronal loss that characterizes Parkinson's disease. If successful, the work could yield a first-in-class drug that would increase the feasibility of treating PD with therapeutics including trophic factors -- specialized, naturally occurring proteins that protect and nourish neurons -- by allowing for delivery via non-invasive intravenous administration.

"At The Michael J. Fox Foundation, we believe that our capital has an obligation to fund high-risk, high-reward projects that, if successful, could significantly improve the lives of people with Parkinson's," said Katie Hood, CEO of MJFF. "A major element of our work is the identification and prioritization of approaches like ArmaGen's -- efforts that without our backing would likely stall for lack of resources."

The blood-brain barrier surrounds the brain and functions to keep out pathogens and other harmful agents. While critical to human health, it presents one of the most daunting challenges for delivery of drugs used to treat PD and other central nervous system disorders. Some of the therapeutic approaches that currently show the most promise to yield transformative treatments for PD involve the use of so-called "large molecules" that are unable to penetrate the barrier. These approaches, which include trophic factors, currently require brain surgery, an inherently risky and invasive intervention, to access the brain regions affected in Parkinson's. (In March 2008 the Foundation launched a $2-million initiative, Improving Delivery of Parkinson's Disease Therapeutics to the Brain, solely designed to address PD drug delivery; funding is anticipated in October.)

Building on earlier work funded by MJFF under its Community Fast Track initiative, the ArmaGen team, led by principal investigator Ruben J. Boado, PhD, will work with the trophic factor GDNF. They will try to enable it to cross the blood-brain barrier by re-engineering it using Trojan horse technology. The end goal is to create a safe and effective treatment in which GDNF, fused to a genetically engineered antibody that is naturally capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, can be injected intravenously into the blood. The antibody, "hiding" the GDNF inside itself -- as the Trojan horse of Homer's Iliad hid Greek soldiers, allowing them to enter Troy -- would then ferry the attached GDNF across the blood-brain barrier, from the blood to the target site in brain.

"Trojan horse technology has intrigued Parkinson's researchers for years because of its theoretical potential to overcome the drug delivery hurdle, one of the single most significant challenges facing the entire field," said Gene Johnson, PhD, chief scientific advisor to MJFF. "It is fitting that The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is searching urgently for treatments that will significantly modify Parkinson's disease, should provide funding to vet the potential of this technology to yield new therapies that could transform patients' lives."

The researchers have three major goals: first, to successfully engineer the fused GDNF; second, to inject it into non-human primates and test its safety, its potential toxicity and its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and permeate the targeted regions of the brain; third, to determine whether the treatment alleviates symptoms and pathology of PD in the animal model. To receive full funding, the team must demonstrate that it has achieved all three of these goals.

Assuming all milestones are met and the treatment proves safe and effective in animals, the researchers hope to initiate clinical testing in human patients within five to seven years.

A detailed lay abstract and researcher bios are available at http://www.michaeljfox.org.

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation Founded in 2000, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is dedicated to ensuring the development of a cure for Parkinson's disease within the decade through an aggressively funded research agenda. The Foundation has funded $126 million in research to date.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Michael J. Fox Foundation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Michael Moores SiCKO Becomes the Third Highest Grossing Documentary of All Time Surpassing An Inconvenient Truth
2. Katie Hood Appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer of Michael J. Fox Foundation
3. Clarient Names Michael J. Pellini, M.D. Chief Operating Officer
4. Digital Healthcare Announces Dr. Michael Fleming Joins Executive Team as Medical Director
5. Michael J. Fox Foundation Commits Up to $2 Million for PD Drug Development Under Target Validation 2008
6. BioElectronics Corporation Announces Addition of Michael Seidenman, R.Ph. as Vice President of Sales
7. BioSeek Appoints Michael C. Venuti, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer
8. Irene Hegeman Richard, MD, Appointed Senior Medical Advisor to The Michael J. Fox Foundation
9. Actress Jenifer Lewis, Authors Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Susan Taylor Among Featured Speakers for Senator Hughes Behavioral Mental Health Summit
10. Michael J. Fox Foundation Launches Rapid Response Innovation Awards 2008 Following Strong Inaugural Year Response
11. Siemens Medical Solutions Michael Long Recognized as one of Computerworlds 2008 Premier 100 IT Leaders
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... Levels of a ... damage, according to a study appearing online in the journal Radiology. , Heart disease ... to increase significantly due to the rapidly aging population. Damage to both organs often ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... , ... They are musicians and librarians, fashion designers and fitness instructors, actors, ... England and around the nation. What do they have in common? All have been ... and compelling new photographic exhibit debuting Friday, December 9 at Logan International Airport in ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Hollywood, Fl (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 , ... When it came time to ... new heart. Just 40 minutes later, the Pediatric Heart Transplant team at Joe ... true making the Weston teen the hospital’s 30th heart transplant recipient. , “He was ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ODU, ... to the US market its advanced highly customizable contact technology solutions. , ODU ... These advanced technologies are ideal for a wide range of applications that require ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Arbor, MI (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 ... ... insurance and financial consultation services from offices located in South Lyon, Dewitt, Williamston, ... to benefit a basketball coach who needs treatment for a brain tumor. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... Dec. 6, 2016 A new study released ... (AIR 340B) projects the 340B Drug Pricing Program will continue ... time it is expected to exceed $23 billion in total ... 340B purchases surpass current Medicare Part B drug reimbursement purchases ... study – based on analysis of data on total drug ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... , Dec. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - InMed ... progress today on its R&D program in the ... obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In June, 2015 InMed ... tool to identify the targets and potential active ... of COPD. Subsequently, with in vitro assays using ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... Tenn , Dec. 6, 2016  In response ... dependent on opioids every 25 minutes, a respected group ... company that will provide a holistic suite of services ... Based on his own experience trying to ... social entrepreneur Justin Lanning launched 180 ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: