Microneurotrophins

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Nikki J

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Developed by Dr. Achilleas Gravanis, Professor of Pharmacology at University of Crete’s School of Medicine, MicroNeurotrophins appear to mimic the beneficial properties of neurotrophins—naturally occurring proteins that help motor neurons develop, grow, function, signal, and even repair themselves—but are also small enough to pass through the blood brain barrier and reach the motor neurons affected by ALS/MND. By contrast, ALS causes motor neurons to degenerate and die and ALS/MND patients experience a profound loss of neurotrophins as the disease progresses.

MicroNeurotrophins have proven highly effective and non-toxic in experimental animal models of three major human neurodegenerative diseases: Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. This initial research indicates that MicroNeurotrophins hold great promise for treating ALS/MND because they target the multiple pathways of motor neuron degeneration that are characteristic of the disease.

How do MicroNeurotrophins address the multiple pathways of ALS/MND?

Anti-Apoptotic
Apoptosis, programmed cell death, is responsible for motor neuron degeneration in ALS/MND. In both in vitro (cell culture) and in vivo (animal model) studies, MicroNeurotrophins have been shown to combat apoptosis by protecting and strengthening neurons.

Anti-Inflammatory and Autoimmune Inhibitor
Inflammation is the immune system’s defense against bacteria, viruses, and substances that are foreign and harmful. However, there is increasing evidence that inflammation accompanies the death of motor neurons in ALS/MND. MicroNeurotrophins’ powerful anti-inflammatory properties may help reduce, prevent, or even reverse this destructive autoimmune response.

Glutamate Modulator
ALS/MND patients are unable to properly regulate glutamate, a chemical that carries messages throughout the brain and spinal cord. Too much glutamate in the brain can be toxic and cause motor neurons to die. MicroNeurotrophins serve as an indirect protectant against excess glutamate through their ability to promote cell survival processes, increase neuronal signaling strength and as an autoimmune modulator.

Neuronal Signaling
In ALS/MND, loss of neurotrophic signaling causes neurons to die. MicroNeurotrophins prevent cell death by increasing neuroprotective signals that help neurons survive, differentiate, and grow.
 

Nikki J

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There is a consortium of researchers starting work on this. It includes the doctor referenced above, Sheffield in the UK ( Dr Shaw's group) Harvard and some other US sites. They are tackling various aspects of the preclinical work in the hopes of having a human trial in 12-18 months. They are fundraising. I would be interested to hear what your neurologists think of this if you get a chance to ask. It sounds promising and some of the names associated are very reputable
 

pearshoot

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nixa
Nikki.....do you know how long it takes to grow a new motor neuron...on this site I have seen several different answers,,,,
 

Nikki J

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I don't think there is a definite answer there are so many steps to the process and the factors would be different in different hosts. But I am not a neurophysiologist
 
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