When Inflazome becomes Roche

# # # #

Over the past two decades, pharmaceutical companies have shifted from maintaining large in-house drug development platforms to a model that involves acquiring small biotech firms with interesting agents once those companies reach a certain point in their maturation.

This week a biotech firm called Inflazome was bought by the big pharma Roche.

Inflazome has been developing a novel NLRP3 inhibitor, which targets inflammasome activation and the company has had Parkinson’s in it’s sights as far as indications of interest.

In today’s post, we will discuss what the inflammasome is, how NLRP3 inhibitors work, and what will be happening next.

# # # #


Source: Science

One of the hottest areas of Parkinson’s research world is ‘inflammation‘ (cheesy pun intended).

What is inflammation?

When cells in your body are stressed or sick, they begin to release tiny messenger proteins which inform the rest of your body that something is wrong.

When enough of these messenger proteins are released that the immune system becomes activated, it can cause inflammation.

Inflammation is a critical part of the immune system’s response to trouble. It is the body’s way of communicating to the immune system that something is wrong and activating it so that it can help deal with the situation.

By releasing the messenger proteins (called cytokines), injured/sick cells kick off a process that results in multiple types of immune cells entering the troubled area of the body and undertaking very specific tasks.

The inflammatory process. Source: Trainingcor

The strength of the immune response depends on the volume of the signal arising from those released messenger proteins. And there are processes that can amplify the immune response.

One of those processes is called inflammasomes.

What are inflammasomes?

Continue reading “When Inflazome becomes Roche”

Brain. On. Fire.

 

Inflammation is part of the immune system’s response to damage or infection. It is a very natural process that our bodies undergo when we come into harms way.

Researchers at the University of Queensland, have recently demonstrated something interesting about the inflammation associated with Parkinson’s: by inhibiting a very specific part of the inflammatory process, they can reduce the spread of Parkinson’s associated alpha synuclein pathology in models of PD.

And they have developed a drug – called MCC950 – that specifically targets that component of the inflammation process which they are now seeking to test in clinical trials.

In today’s post, we will discuss what inflammation is, review this new research, and consider what it could all mean for the Parkinson’s community.

 


Spot the unhealthy cell – exhibiting signs of stress (yellow). Source: Gettyimages

No silly preamble today – this is going to be a very long post, so we’re diving straight in:

When cells in your body are stressed or sick, they begin to release messenger proteins which inform the rest of your body that something is wrong.

When enough cells release these messenger proteins, it can cause inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system’s response to trouble. It is the body’s way of communicating to the immune system that something is wrong and activating it so that it can help deal with the situation.

By releasing the messenger proteins, injured/sick cells kick off a process that results in multiple types of immune cells entering the troubled area of the body and undertaking very specific tasks.

The inflammatory process. Source: Trainingcor

The strength of the immune response depends on the volume of the signal arising from those released messenger proteins.

And the level of messenger proteins being released partly depends on multi-protein structures called inflammasomes.

What are inflammasomes?

Continue reading “Brain. On. Fire.”

Exercise: Taking the STING out of Parkinson’s

 

In December of of 2017, the results of a clinical trial suggested that a particular  kind of exercise may have beneficial effects against certain aspects of Parkinson’s. Specifically, a high-intensity treadmill regime was found to be ‘non-futile’ as an intervention for the motor symptoms in de novo (newly diagnosed) Parkinson’s.

Recently, however, new pre-clinical research has been published which reported that when mice with particular Parkinson’s-associated genetic mutations are exercised to exhaustion, they have high levels of inflammation which can exaggerate the neurodegeneration associated with that model of PD.

So naturally, some readers are now asking “So should I be exercising or not?!?”

In today’s post we will review the results of the two studies mentioned above, and discuss why exercise is still important for people with Parkinson’s.

 


Readers are recommended to click on the image above and listen to the music (Michael Sembello’s “Maniac” from 1983) whilst reading this post.

This song was made famous by one particular scene from the 1983 movie “Flashdance” starring Jennifer Beals, in which the lead character undertook an intense dance routine. Ever since that iconic scene, exercise fanatics have long used the music to help get themselves into the mood for their workouts.

————————

One of my personal life goals. Source: Jobcrusher

Few experts would disagree that the benefits of exercise are many.

Adults who achieve at least 2.5 hours of physical activity per week have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

(Source: NHS)

But what about people with PD? What do we know about exercise and Parkinson’s?

Continue reading “Exercise: Taking the STING out of Parkinson’s”