Prana Biotechnology Limited has announced that it has identified novel therapeutic drug candidates from its Parkinson's disease program. Already, a lead candidate drug has demonstrated positive effects in pre-clinical studies, protecting the brain from damage to the substantia nigra, the area of the brain affected in Parkinson's disease.
Prana's drug candidates are being tested on two widely used mouse models for Parkinson's disease, which employ either the 6-hydroxy-dopamine (6-OHDA) or MPTP toxins. These models mimic the disease by using these toxins to destroy the substantia nigra cells over time, leading to motor function loss. Already a candidate lead drug has been shown to protect and preserve the substantia nigra cells from the damage of 6-OHDA and was also able to increase motor function in those animals treated with Prana's drug. In addition, the same lead candidate drug showed benefit in the MPTP animal model and protected the substantia nigra cells from the toxic damage of MPTP.
Prana's drug design is based on the understanding of the relationship between metals, particularly Iron, and the oxidative damage to the substantia nigra. This damage results in progressive neurodegeneration leading to the characteristic symptoms of the disease, notably a gradual loss of motor function over several years and a loss of cognitive function in the later stage of the disease. The compounds being tested in the program are novel compounds selected from Prana's proprietary MPAC (metal-protein-attenuating compounds) library for their selective suitability for Parkinson's research.
"Prana's drug candidates for Parkinson's disease are designed to target the underlying cause of the disease by protecting the brain from neuronal loss with the aim of minimising the actual disease in patients, in contrast to providing temporary symptomatic relief," stated Geoffrey Kempler, Chairman and CEO of Prana. "We are optimistic for the potential of our Parkinson's disease program to deliver an effective treatment to help patients. This will be a valuable addition to our expanding pipeline of drug opportunities arising from our MPAC library. To date, Prana's lead Alzheimer's Disease MPAC, PBT2, has successfully completed a Phase IIa clinical trial in Alzheimer's Disease and the company is looking to partnership strategies as one way to accelerate its development into larger trials. Prana's MPAC's are also being studied in other neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's Disease as well as in various cancers".
Individuals affected with Parkinson's disease in 15 of the world's most populous nations are estimated to double over the next generation. By 2030, the number is anticipated to reach between 8.7 million and 9.3 million worldwide. In the US alone, an estimated one million Americans currently suffer from Parkinson's disease.
The data will be presented at the Australian Society for Neurology meeting in Brisbane on May 19 and the International Movement Disorders Meeting in Chicago on June 22.