There could be promising news for the more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and the people who care for them.
Although nearly one in every three people will eventually be afflicted and it’s the third leading cause of death of older adults in the U.S. (surpassed only by heart disease and cancer in non-pandemic years), there may be effective treatments on the horizon.
One contender is about to start a Phase I clinical trial. It’s a novel drug known as NVG-291 and it’s designed to repair damaged nerves. Originally developed by NervGen Pharma Corp. (TSX-V: NGEN) (OTCQX: NGENF) to treat spinal cord injury, it soon became apparent that the drug may be healing nerve damage at a biologically fundamental level. That suggests it can also help people who have multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
Why It May Work
According to NervGen President & CEO Paul Brennan, NVG-291 is a truly unique and logical approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease patients. “What differentiates NVG-291 from other drugs in development is that it leverages multiple mechanisms for repairing nerve damage,” he explains, “while most others focus on a single approach. Alzheimer’s disease is a complex condition and likely caused by multiple factors. We believe that a systems approach to treating the disease is an important distinction.”
NVG-291 is designed to achieve this by liberating the body’s own repair mechanisms to accelerate nerve repair. When nerve damage occurs, either as a result of an injury or disease, molecules called chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, or CSPG, accumulate and inhibit the body’s ability to repair itself. NervGen’s technology is designed to counteract this inhibition and result in the initiation of multiple repair mechanisms, including nerve regeneration and remyelination - the repair of the protective coating of the nerves. It should also improve plasticity, which is where surviving nerves take on additional function.
There are two additional mechanisms that are seen to be very important in treating Alzheimer’s disease. Data in animal studies show that inflammation in the immune cells of the brain is reduced and autophagy, a cellular cleaning mechanism necessary for healthy neurons, is promoted. Researchers believe the same nerve-rejuvenating biotechnology can be adapted to remedy this mind-desecrating disease.
Currently approved Alzheimer’s disease drugs merely address symptoms, whereas NVG-291 should act at a more fundamental level to let normal repair mechanisms kick in to create a favorable environment for nerves to grow and form entirely new nerve connections, according to Brennan.
The ability to bring to bear numerous mechanisms of repair, including two that are increasingly viewed as critical to addressing Alzheimer’s disease, represents an unprecedented medical breakthrough.
For further facts on the clinical trials and NervGen, visit www.nervgen.com.