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Scripps Florida awarded $7.6 million grant to develop novel treatment for Parkinson's disease
Date:3/12/2008

cal pharmaceutical approach to drug development, which involves annual milestones and multiple compound tracking.

Our research plan is designed to mitigate the risk of developing a single compound that may fail due to specific problems, and to maximize the chance for clinical success by having back-up compounds, LoGrasso said. We believe that using this approach to optimize small-molecule inhibitors will create a series of compounds with favorable pharmacokinetic properties and safety profiles.

The scientists will examine small-molecule compounds that inhibit c-jun-N-terminal kinase 2/3 (JNK 2/3). Pronounced Junk, JNK 2/3 is an important contributor to stress-induced apoptosis (cell death) and has been shown to play a significant role in neuronal survival. As such, the kinase is a highly viable target for drugs to treat neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinsons disease.

Previous research has shown that small-molecule and peptide inhibitors of the JNK target protect dopaminergic neurons in both acute and chronic models of Parkinsons disease. Previous research has also shown that the JNK2/3 knockout mouse modelsmice that lack the gene for JNK2/3suffer fewer Parkinsons-like symptoms.

The scientists hope to identify approximately three compounds that demonstrate in vivo efficacy by the third year, and a top compound by year four of the research program.

When were finished, our aim it is to have a safe, efficacious compound with sufficient preclinical safety data to support human clinical studies, LoGrasso said.


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Contact: Keith McKeown
kmkeown@scripps.edu
858-784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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