Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Shaking Off the (Brain) Rust

04.11.2004


Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed three drugs to remove excess iron from the brains of patients with neurodegenerative diseases. The presence of too much iron in the brain is a hallmark of such diseases. The drugs, VK-28, HLA-20 and M30, mop up the iron before it can trigger a "brain rust" chemical reaction where highly active oxygen particles destroy brain cells.

Professor Moussa Youdim of the Faculty of Medicine and his colleagues – Prof. Avraham Warshawsky (now deceased), Prof. Mati Fridkin and Ph.D. student Hailin Zheng from China – have received U.S. and worldwide patents on VK-28, HLA-20 and M30. Youdim says the three drugs could treat and perhaps prevent a range of diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Unlike other drugs currently used against these disorders – which attempt to replace the functions lost by dying neurons – these drugs halt the neuron destruction itself. Normally, iron is a helpful partner in the body’s metabolism, shuttling electrons between molecules in chemical reactions that break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins, and provide energy to cells. Because iron is so reactive, the body usually keeps tight control over the amount and activity of iron circulating in the brain and other organs.



When these control mechanisms fail, however, too much "free" iron can participate in rust-like reactions that produce damaging byproducts such as oxygen free radicals. These highly active particles hurtle themselves at cells with destructive force, collapsing and eventually killing them. The deadly bombardment might explain why neurons die off in the iron-rich brain tissue of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients, Youdim says.

Youdim and his former student, Dr. Dorit Ben Shachar, were the first to suggest that iron chelators could prevent the neurotoxicity of iron in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease with Desferal, a well-known iron chelator. Iron chelators are small molecules that bind to excess iron and prevent it from participating in chemical reactions that could damage neurons and other cells.

But they discovered that Desferal needed to be directly injected into the brain, leading to the new VK-28, which can cross into the brain via the bloodstream. The other two drugs – HLA-20 and M30 – are combination drugs. They increase Dopamine levels and remove excess iron that could cause further damage to the neurons that transmit dopamine. "Drugs with multiple actions may be more effective in controlling and treating neurodegenerative disorders," he explains.

The work of Youdim and his colleagues appears in the November 2004 Nature Review Neuroscience. The have also published several other papers on their iron chelator research, including articles in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (January 2004) and Neuropharmacology (January 2004) earlier this year. They will also be published in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences later this year. The researchers are now in negotiations with several American, British and Israeli companies for development of these drugs through Varinel Inc.

Youdim also discovered and co-developed Rasagiline, a drug that boosts levels of a brain chemical called dopamine that is normally depleted in Parkinson’s patients; and Ladostigil, which boosts levels of acetylcholine in Alzheimer’s patients. Rasagiline has received a letter of approval from the FDA, while Ladostigil is currently in the clinical trials phase.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel’s leading science and technology university and home to the country’s only winners of the Nobel Prize in science. It commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel’s high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with more than 20,000 supporters and 19 offices around the country.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.ats.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>