New Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Discovered by Ben-Gurion U Researchers (Psychiatry)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers have discovered that the protein BMP5/7 offers promising therapeutics that could slow down or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

The findings were published in the prestigious clinical neurology journal, Brain.

BMP5/7 prevent A53T α -synuclein-induced substantia nigra neuronal loss, gliosis and ameliorate associated motor impairment in a Parkinson’s disease mouse model. (AB, and EJ) Representative micrographs and corresponding quantification of the substantia nigra (SN) injected with EGFP expressing vector (control), substantia nigra injected with A53T α -synuclein expressing vector (α -syn) and substantia nigra injected with A53T α -synuclein expressing vector together with striatal BMP5/7 expressing vector (α -syn + BMP5/7). © Z. Vitic et al.

Parkinson’s disease, which affects over one million people in U.S. and 10 million worldwide, causes tremors and severe movement impairment due to progressive degeneration of dopamine-producing brain cells. It is believed that the protein “alpha-synuclein,” present in all human brains, misfolds and forms toxic clumps in these cells, which causes the disease.

While current Parkinson’s disease therapies improve symptoms, they are not effective in advanced illness stages and, unfortunately, do not slow or cure the disease.

Dr. Claude Brodski, M.D., head of the BGU’s Laboratory for Molecular Neuroscience, discovered that BMP5/7 signaling in neurons was significantly reduced in dopamine-producing brain cells, which could contribute to Parkinson’s disease advancement.

“Indeed, we found that BMP5/7 treatment can, in a Parkinson’s disease mouse model, efficiently prevent movement impairments caused by the accumulation of alpha-synuclein and reverse the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells,” says Dr. Brodski. “These findings are very promising, since they suggest that BMP5/7 could slow or stop Parkinson’s disease progression. Currently, we are focusing all our efforts on bringing our discovery closer to clinical application.”

BGN Technologies, Ben-Gurion University’s technology transfer company, has filed several patent applications covering this breakthrough discovery.

Dr. Galit Mazooz Perlmuter, senior vice president of business development, bio-pharma at BGN Technologies, notes, “There is a vast need for new therapies to treat Parkinson’s disease, especially in advanced stages of the disease. Dr. Brodski’s findings, although still in their early stages, offer a disease-modified drug target that will address this devastating condition. We are now seeking an industry partner for further development of this patent pending invention.”

Reference: Zagorka Vitic, Hazem Safory, Vukasin M Jovanovic, Yael Sarusi, Alexandra Stavsky, Joy Kahn, Alona Kuzmina, Lilah Toker, Daniel Gitler, Ran Taube, Roland H Friedel, Simone Engelender, Claude Brodski, BMP5/7 protect dopaminergic neurons in an α -synuclein mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, Brain, , awaa368, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa368

Provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. BGN brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, high-tech and cleantech, and has initiated leading technology hubs, incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, BGN Technologies has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, PayPal, and Lockheed Martin, securing value and growth for BGU as well as the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. Activities include showcasing BGU’s academic excellence and cutting-edge research through educational programs, events and informative communications. AABGU’s main purpose is to support Ben-Gurion’s vision and the university that bears his name by creating a community of Americans committed to improving the world tomorrow from the heart of the Israeli desert today. For more information visit http://www.aabgu.org.

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