GODMANCHESTER, England - (5 June 2007) - Phytopharm plc (LSE: PYM) ("Phytopharm" or the "Company") announces today pre-clinical data showing that Cogane(tm) reverses the changes in the area of the brain involved in Parkinson's disease. This data will be presented by Dr Jonathan Brotchie, an internationally recognised expert on Parkinson's disease at 'The 11th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders' 5 June in Istanbul, Turkey and published in The Movement Disorders Society's journal*.
Cogane(tm) reverses the changes in area of the brain involved in Parkinson's disease by inducing the production of neurotrophic factors. These growth factors promote the growth and connectivity of neurones and reverse the atrophy of this area of the brain. This latest study was partly funded by The Cure Parkinson's Trust.
Commenting, Tom Isaacs, co-founder of The Cure Parkinson's Trust said: "Cogane's ability to induce a person's own neurotrophic activity offers a very real prospect of a better treatment for Parkinson's disease. As a patient led organisation, The Cure Parkinson's Trust is very excited about the potential of this product to completely restore motor function to those with the condition. We are delighted our targeted fund allocation in this area of research has been directly involved in these latest findings."
Commenting, Dr Daryl Rees, Chief Executive Officer of Phytopharm, said: "There is an urgent need for new therapeutic approaches to Parkinson's disease. Pre-clinical studies with Cogane(tm), an orally bioavailable neurotrophic factor inducer, have been highly encouraging in reversing the changes in the area of the brain involved in Parkinson's disease, providing hope that Cogane(tm) could restore normal control of movement."
Notes to Editors
Phytopharm is a pharmaceutical development and functi onal food company whose product leads are generated from medicinal plants. The Company's strategy is to develop these products through 'proof of principle' clinical testing, and then secure partners for late stage development, sales and marketing. Laboratory, manufacturing and clinical work is outsourced to selected specialists, operating under expert in-house management. This operational structure allows access to the best external research facilities whilst maintaining low fixed overheads and a lower development cost structure.
Cogane(tm) (PYM50028) is a novel non-peptide, orally bioavailable neurotrophic factor inducer that readily crosses the blood brain barrier. In pre-clinical studies, Cogane(tm) stimulates the release of neuronal growth factors, increases neurite outgrowth and protects against neuronal degeneration. Importantly, Cogane(tm) also reverses the decrease of neuronal growth factors and reverses dopaminergic neuronal degeneration observed in vitro. When administered orally to pre-clinical models of Parkinson's disease, Cogane(tm) reverses the loss of dopaminergic neurones.
*Movement Disorders (2007) Vol 22 (Suppl 16): page S18, abstract number 58.
Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder characterised by muscle rigidity, tremor, a slowing of physical movement (bradykinesia) and, in extreme cases, a loss of physical movement (akinesia). The primary symptoms are the result of altered signaling of an area of the brain, the striatum, responsible for the control of movement. This is caused by degeneration of dopaminergic neurones between the striatum and the substantia nigra part of the brain leading to insufficient formation and action of dopamine. Parkinson's disease is therefore termed a neurodegenerative disease. The disease is slow in onset and the appearance of symptoms reflects the gradual loss of dopaminergic neurones.
The prevalence of the disease is estimat ed to be 100 to 200 per 100,000 population (Source: Datamonitor). In the US alone, there are estimated to be one million patients with diagnosed Parkinson's disease with associated healthcare costs to the economy of $25 billion (Source: Northwest Parkinson's Foundation submission to US Congress). Parkinson's disease can affect people of any age, though the incidence is higher in older people. Individuals will experience varying combinations of the symptoms, each with differing degrees of severity. The cause of Parkinson's disease in the majority of cases is unknown (idiopathic Parkinson's disease), though some cases have been found to have a hereditary component (familial Parkinson's disease) and possible mechanisms include oxidative damage of nerve cells coupled with loss of neurotrophic factors. Neurotrophic factors are essential for the survival and maintenance of nerve cells and provide protection against toxic insults, however as proteins, their utility as pharmacological treatments are limited (Source: The Cure Parkinson's Trust).
At present, there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, but a variety of medications provide relief from the symptoms, usually by dopamine replacement therapy either by L-DOPA, which is converted to dopamine in the striatum, or by dopamine agonists which act on the dopamine receptors to restore normal motor function (control of movement). However, both treatments cause either less endogenous dopamine to be released or the dopamine receptors to become progressively less sensitive, thereby eventually increasing the symptoms. There is an urgent need for the development of new approaches to this debilitating condition and non-peptide orally bioavailable neurotrophic factor inducers that readily cross the blood brain barrier represent an important therapeutic approach.
For further information about Phytopharm please see our website at http://www.phytopharm.com
Dr Jonathan Brotchie
Dr Jonathan Brotchie is Senior Scientist at the Toronto Western Hospital, part of the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada. He is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Atuka Ltd., a contract research and consultancy services company for the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics for Parkinson's disease. Jonathan is a renowned scientist in the field of Parkinson's disease and, at UHN runs one of the world's premier research laboratories for the identification of novel treatments, diagnostics and cures for Parkinson's and related disorders. In the last decade, he has published many influential scientific papers in the field of Parkinson's disease and related disorders. His research has been particularly associated with pioneering the concept of non-dopaminergic treatments for Parkinson's disease.
Jonathan is also Scientific Director of the Cure Parkinson's Trust, a charity supporting research aimed at delivering better treatments and cures for PD.
The Cure Parkinson's Trust
The Cure Parkinson's Trust supported by Movers & Shakers was co-founded by four individuals with Parkinson's who are determined to do everything in their power to help find a cure for this debilitating neurological disease. They are former Lord Mayor of London, Sir Richard Nichols, David Jones CBE, former chairman of Next Plc, Michael Hughes and Tom Isaacs.
Parkinson's disease can affect anyone at any time. It does not discriminate by age, sex or nationality. One in every 500 people, contracts Parkinson's, with one in every 20 of those diagnosed each year being under the age of 40 years. A cure for Parkinson's disease is within reach.
The Cure Parkinson's Trust has been funding a variety of research projects globally. For further details see: www.cureparkinsons.org.uk
Mo Noonan Mana ger Financial Communications
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