SUSAN GREENFIELD

Scientist • Writer • Broadcaster

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Neurodegeneration

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease: an aberrant form of development and a two-pronged cure?

As a population, we are living longer. Consequently, neurodegenerative diseases associated with older age, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are set to become the scourge of the 21st Century.

Susan's theory of neurodegeneration

The crucial question that Susan is trying to answer is - what is the basic mechanism of neurodegeneration?

Whenever brain cells are damaged, say by a stroke, or blow to the head, recovery of function will usually occur to some extent. However, if certain cells are damaged, a chemical is released that usually only operates in younger, developing brains.

Since the brain is now mature, this chemical will kill the cells, creating more damage and causing more release of the now toxic chemical. This cycle of cell death will present itself as neurodegeneration.

 

A DISRUPTIVE APPROACH

From the passion for research from Susan, Neuro-Bio has discovered a novel 14 amino acid bioactive peptide (T14) derived from the C terminus of AChE. T14 is neurotoxic in the adult brain and published data shows it to be a potential key driver of neurodegeneration.

This new distinct mechanism is being exploited by Neuro-Bio to discover oral drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease. T14 can also be measured in blood and Neuro-Bio is developing this biomarker as a companion diagnostic.

  • Based on 40 years of research into novel brain mechanisms that challenges accepted dogma.
  • Addresses the question of why only certain cells are primarily vulnerable in AD.
  • Pioneers a novel theory of the AD neurodegenerative process that for the first-time accounts for all the known clinical facts.
  • Identifies the key pivotal, toxic molecule (T14) underlying this pathological process. Demonstrates that this toxin is a feature of the AD brain where it is doubled in post-mortem midbrains and shows that neurodegeneration is an appropriate re-activation of development driven by the toxin, T14.

  • Is developing a possible blood test whereby this toxic molecule could act as a biomarker.
  • Identifies the molecular target (alpha7 nicotinic receptor) of the toxin where it enhances calcium entry, thereby inducing excitotoxicity and further proliferation of the receptor itself (Figure-green), thus perpetuating a feedforward cycle of neurodegeneration.

  • Designs a blocker of the toxin action at this receptor that could lead to an effective therapeutic drug Neuro-Bio has been granted a patent on a novel manner of inhibiting the binding of T14, by means of a cyclized peptide (Technology).The company is developing its pipeline of potential therapeutic drugs using the linear peptide variants as templates to design small molecules that will access the brain and for the first time stabilize cell loss by inhibiting the excitotoxic effect of T14 (Figure) and hence eventually treat this debilitating disease effectively.

Copyright ©2021 Susan Greenfield