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Elucidating therapeutic effects and mode of action of future trophic factorsin ALS and Parkinson’s disease

Elucidating therapeutic effects and mode of action of future trophic factorsin ALS and Parkinson’s disease

Objective

The prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is growing rapidly due to an aging population and increased life expectancy. Current treatments for ALS and PD only relieve symptoms and cannot stop the progression of the disease, thus there is an urgent need for new therapies. Neurotrophic factors (NTFs) are secretary proteins that regulate the survival of neurons, neurite growth and branching. They have been explored as novel drugs for the treatment of ALS and PD but their efficacy in clinical trials is poor. CDNF is a protein with NTF properties that protects and restores the function of dopamine neurons in rodent and rhesus monkey toxin models of PD more effectively than other NTFs. CDNF is currently in phase 1/2 clinical trials on PD patients. Despite promising results with CDNF in animal models of PD, NTF and CDNF-based treatments have drawbacks. CDNF requires direct delivery to the brain through invasive surgery since, it cannot pass through the blood brain barrier (BBB). My recent discovery, however, may overcome this difficulty: I showed that a novel CDNF variant protects DA neurons in vitro and in vivo and that it efficiently enters DA neurons in culture. Furthermore, my data show the CDNF fragment can pass through the BBB as measured by 3 different methods and has a neurorestorative effect in a 6-OHDA toxin model of PD when administered subcutaneously. The ultimate goal of my research is to understand the mode of action and therapeutic effect of novel BBB penetrating CDNF-derived polypeptides in cultures of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell-derived nerve cells from patients and in animal models of ALS and PD. The innovative aspect of this proposal is the new groundbreaking concept for treating neurodegenerative diseases – peripheral delivery of BBB penetrating peptides with trophic factor properties and the potential to treat non-motor and motor symptoms in ALS and PD patients.
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Host institution

HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO

Address

Yliopistonkatu 3
00014 Helsingin Yliopisto

Finland

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 1 497 597

Beneficiaries (1)

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HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO

Finland

EU Contribution

€ 1 497 597

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 805426

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 February 2019

  • End date

    31 January 2024

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 1 497 597

  • EU contribution

    € 1 497 597

Hosted by:

HELSINGIN YLIOPISTO

Finland