Experts use shark antibodies as a kind of Trojan horse
A Danish pharmaceutical company was the first to break the so-called blood-brain barrier in mice with the help of shark antibodies. This process could enable people with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's to be treated more effectively in the future.
Lundbeck is a Danish pharmaceutical company that has been focusing on the treatment of brain diseases such as depression and schizophrenia for a long time. One of the biggest challenges in neuroscience is that therapeutic drugs should cross the human blood-brain barrier, the Danish experts explain. This barrier is a special layer of cells around cerebral blood vessels that protects the brain from toxins.
Medicines usually have difficulty crossing the blood-brain barrier
In cooperation with the American company Ossianix, the Danish scientists tried to successfully cross the blood-brain barrier. Previously, patients either had to take large amounts of medication so that some molecules get out of the bloodstream through the barrier. Or the drugs had to be administered in a different way, such as by direct injection into the human brain, the experts explain.
Shark antibodies act as a kind of transporter
The scientists now announced that they had discovered in tests on mice how therapeutic antibodies can be bound to the shark-derived antibodies. These then act as a kind of transporter and help to overcome the barrier.
Successful treatment of people could take place in ten years
Frank Walsh, the founder and CEO of Ossianix, said in a press release that the first studies on human subjects could begin in two years. Then it would be possible that a successful treatment of patients could be provided in less than a decade. The expert added that the new discovery could help treat the damage caused by some neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Sharks were the first species with antibodies
Kim Andersen, senior vice president and head of research at Lundbeck, says research has taken 400 million years to develop nature. This is because sharks were the first species to develop antibodies.
Shark antibodies allow higher doses of medication to reach the brain
An important property of the shark antibody is its small size. These antibodies are about one-tenth the size of a normal antibody. The antibodies are comparable to a Trojan horse, which allows a barrier to be crossed that has been considered impenetrable for many years. This means that drugs can reach the brain in a much higher concentration than was previously possible, explains Walsh.
New type of treatment could be helpful for brain disorders
The Lundbeck company said the technology found could pave the way for many new and more effective treatments for brain diseases. Among them are also some diseases that are not considered treatable.
Experts want to find a more effective way to treat Alzheimer's
"Alzheimer's has become a core area of our research and we are pursuing a number of different pathways and technologies in search of a way to treat the disease more effectively," the scientists say. (as)