Boulder, Colorado - A novel compound developed by a team led by the University of Colorado Boulder may be therapeutic in suppressing misguided inflammatory responses by a set of immune cells known as microglia to perceived damage to the brain and nervous system.
The targets of the drug are two cell receptors that sit on the surface of the microglia and which have evolved to identify danger to the cells and to activate an immune response, said Associate Professor Hang Hubert Yin of the BioFrontiers Institute. The drug, known as CU-CPT22, acts on the receptors to keep inflammation at bay, which could be a new strategy for treating Parkinson’s disease, said Yin.
“This is exciting for us,” said Yin. “We are suggesting an entirely new strategy for treating Parkinson’s disease – one that we think will be more effective, and one with a potential drug that patients may access in the future.”
A paper on the strategy by Yin, BioFrontiers researcher Kui Cheng and colleagues from the Georgetown University Medical Center appeared May 12 in Science Signaling.
Yin, a faculty member in the chemistry and biochemistry department, led the team that developed CU-CPT22. The University of Colorado holds the intellectual property rights to CU-CPT22, which was recently licensed by the CU Technology Transfer Office to Brickell Biotech of Miami, Florida, and commercialized by the life science and biotechnology companies EMD Millipore, Sigma-Aldrich and Tocris for drug development and research.
The research was supported by a Parkinson’s Movement Disorder Foundation grant as well as funding from the National Institutes of Health.