Cell replacement therapy is a key component of any “cure” for Parkinson’s – replacing the cells that have been lost over the course of the condition.
Cell transplantation of dopamine neurons has a long track record of both preclinical and clinical development and represents the most developed of the cell replacement approaches.
Two weeks ago, the biotech firm BlueRock Therapeutics announced an agreement under which the pharmaceutical company Bayer AG would fully acquire the company.
In today’s post we will discuss why this is major news for the Parkinson’s community and an important development for the field of cell replacement therapy.
On the 8th August, Bayer AG and BlueRock Therapeutics announced an agreement under which Bayer will “fully acquire BlueRock Therapeutics, a privately held US-headquartered biotechnology company focused on developing engineered cell therapies in the fields of neurology, cardiology and immunology, using a proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform” (Source).
What is BlueRock Therapeutics?
Versant Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that specializes in investing “in game changing biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other life science opportunities”. Leaps by Bayer is an effort by the Pharmaceutical company Bayer at “spearheading a movement to make paradigm-shifting advances in the life sciences – targeting the breakthroughs that could fundamentally change the world for the better”.
The news on the 8th August means Bayer will acquire the remaining stake for approximately US$240 million in cash (to be paid upfront) and an additional US$360 million which will be payable upon the achievement of certain pre-defined development milestones.
Given that Bayer currently holds 40.8% stake in BlueRock Therapeutics, this announcement values the company at approximately US$1 billion.
Interesting, but what exactly does BlueRock do?
Aspirin is one of the oldest drugs in medical use today.
Recently researchers noticed something interesting about ‘low doses’ of aspirin that could have implications for Parkinson’s: It raises the amount of dopamine in the brain
Specifically, low doses of aspirin triggers an increase in the levels of an enzyme called tyrosine hydroxylase, which is involved in the production of chemical dopamine. Given that levels of dopamine are severely reduced in the brain of a person with Parkinson’s, this new result is kind of interesting.
In today’s post, we will have a look at what aspirin and tyrosine hydroxylase are, what the new research results report, and what this could mean for the Parkinson’s community.
The Ebers Papyrus (also known as the also known as Papyrus Ebers) is considered one of the most oldest medicinal “encyclopedias”.
It outlines 700 Egyptian medicinal formulas and remedies dating back to circa 1550 BC. We know nothing about who wrote the document (even the source of the papyrus is unknown – it may have been found with a mummy in the El-Assasif district of the Theban necropolis).
One thing is clear though: the people who wrote it were a very far sighted bunch.
Interestingly, the papyrus mentions use of Willow bark and Myrtle to treat fever and pain. Both of these plants are rich in Salicylic acid.
What is Salicylic acid?
It is an active precursor (or metabolite) of acetylsalicylic acid – which is also known as ‘Aspirin’.
What exactly is aspirin?