Cognitive impairment affects more than 50 million people worldwide. In the United States alone, one in three seniors dies with some type of dementia. This creates a critical clinical need for safe and effective therapies for the treatment and prevention of cognitive impairment. ProNeurogen, Inc. published this week findings relating to its novel drug candidate for treating cognitive impairment associated with vascular dementia and non-Alzheimer’s related dementias. The paper, titled A Novel Angiotensin-(1-7) Glycosylated Mas Receptor Agonist for Treating Vascular Cognitive Impairment and Inflammation-Related Memory Dysfunction, was published in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
“This novel drug candidate represents a first-in-class therapeutic with great promise for improving the cognitive impairment of millions of individuals,” said Dr. Meredith Hay, a co-inventor of the technology, Chief Science Officer and Founder of ProNeurogen, and a professor at the University of Arizona. “The PNA-5 drug candidate is a major therapeutic breakthrough for treating inflammatory processes linked to cognitive impairment.”
After Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia is the most common form of dementia. It is involved in nearly half of all dementia cases. Risk factors for vascular dementia include cerebrovascular disease (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, heart failure) and coexisting conditions related to atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease). Other non-Alzheimer’s related dementias relating to brain inflammation include those dementias associated with, for example, pre-Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease.
Brain inflammation is a key component of these diseases. PNA-5 works as a natural anti-inflammatory and neuroprotectant by increasing brain blood flow, decreasing reactive oxygen species production and decreasing pro-inflammatory mechanisms which accelerate the progression of neurodegenerative disease. More specifically, PNA-5 works by decreasing inflammation, reactive oxygen production, and activation of brain microglia/macrophages and inhibiting circulating TNF-α, IL-7 and G-CSF serum levels while increasing the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. ProNeurogen’s PNA-5 drug candidate improves the effects of the Angiotensin-(1-7) peptide by moving it across the blood-brain-barrier, increasing its half-life and improving its stability.
PNA-5 has also shown efficacy in treating both pain and cognitive impairment associated with traumatic brain injury. Research and development of the technology is being supported by the National Institutes of Health and others. ProNeurogen, Inc., developer of the technology, exclusively licenses the technology from the University of Arizona.