Human Clinical Trials Projected for 2017
It all starts with plaques, or sticky clumps of beta-amyloid protein, and twisted fibers in the brain. Because these plaques and tangles are not supposed to be there, the body’s immune system mounts an attack on them using inflammatory cells, called microglia.
In a brain with Alzheimer’s disease, changes to the microglia make the cells less effective in destroying the beta-amyloids. The subsequent proliferation of the protein and inflammation in the brain, in turn, destroys good neurons and the connections between them, causing memory and cognitive functions to decline.
In late October 2016, an experimental drug, which has been proven effective in decreasing brain inflammation in mice with Alzheimer’s-like neurodegeneration, was presented at the 2016 Anesthesiology Annual Meeting. The drug, called NTRX07, was developed by researchers from the Department of General Anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. By turning on an anti-inflammatory response in the microglia, the new drug prevents damage to the brain tissue. It also improves the microglia’s ability to remove abnormal amyloid plaques, thereby improving memory and cognition.
“This drug may reduce inflammation in the brain, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease,” said lead researcher Mohamed Naguib, M.D., a physician anesthesiologist in the Department of General Anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic and professor of anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. “NTRX-07 uses a different mechanism than many other Alzheimer’s drugs currently available, as it targets the cause of the disease, not just the symptoms.”
NTRX-07 also stimulates the brain to produce a protein called SOX2, which has been shown to promote the development of new brain cells and protect already affected brain tissue from further damage.
The research has received a $1.7 million investment from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to move the drug toward human clinical trials, plus another $700,000 from the Alzheimer’s Association to fund Phase 1 of these trials. The study on humans is projected to begin in 2017.
Find more information about NTRX-07.