Does immunotherapy need therapy?

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Over the last decade, a large number of clinical trials involving immunotherapy have been conducted in the field of Alzheimer’s research. The overall success rate of these studies has not been encouraging.

Immunotherapy involves artificially boosting the immune system so that it targets of particular pathogen – like a rogue protein in the case of Alzheimer’s – and clears it from the body.

Recently, preclinical research has pointed to several possible reasons why this approach may be struggling in the clinical trials, and potential solutions that could be explored.

In today’s post, we will review two research reports and consider how this applies to Parkinson’s research.

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Immune cells (blue) checking out a suspect cell. Source: Lindau-nobel

Immunotherapy is a method of boosting the body’s immune system to better fight a particular disease. Think of it as training the immune cells in your body to target a particular protein.

The approach involves utilising the immune system of your body, and artificially altering it to target a particular protein/disease-causing agent that is not usually recognised as a pathogen (a disease causing agent).

It is truly remarkable that we have gone from painting on cave walls to flying helicopters on Mars and therapeutically manipulating our body’s primary defense system.

Immunotherapy is potentially a very powerful method for treating a wide range of medical conditions. To date, the majority of the research on immunotherapies have focused on the field of oncology (‘cancer’). Numerous methods of immunotherapy have been developed for cancer and are currently being tested in the clinic (Click here to read more about immunotherapy for cancer).

Many approaches to immunotherapy against cancer. Source: Bloomberg

Immunotherapy has also been tested in neurodegenerative conditions, like Alzheimer’s and more recently Parkinson’s. It typically involves researchers carefully designing antibodies that target a rogue protein (like beta amyloid in Alzheimer’s and alpha synuclein in Parkinson’s) which begin to cluster together, and this aggregation of protein is believed to lead to neurotoxicity.

Source: RND

What are antibodies?

Continue reading “Does immunotherapy need therapy?”

When Inflazome becomes Roche

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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.

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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”

The inflammasome field is heating up

 

When a cell is sick or damaged it will send out signals alerting the immune system that something is wrong. If enough of these molecules are released, they will initate an “immune response” and this process is called inflammation.

There is evidence in neurodegenerative conditions (like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s) that the inflammation process is involved, and inhibitors of particular aspects of inflammation are being developed as potential therapies for these conditions.

Of particular interest are drugs targeting the NLRP3 inflammasome.

In today’s post, we will discuss what the NLRP3 inflammasome is, look at new research identifying a novel NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor, and provide an overview/update of where things are in the clinical testing of NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors for Parkinson’s.

 


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 “The inflammasome field is heating up”

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.”