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Protein in human hair shows promise for regenerating nerves

January 11, 2008

A protein found in human hair shows promise for promoting the regeneration of nerve tissue and could lead to a new treatment option when nerves are cut or crushed from trauma.
In the current issue of Biomaterials, scientists from Wake Forest University School of Medicine reported that in animal studies the protein keratin was able to speed up nerve regeneration and improve nerve function compared to current treatment options.
“We found that the nerve repair happened more quickly and consistently, and that functional recovery was higher,” said Mark Van Dyke, Ph.D., senior author and an assistant professor of regenerative medicine. “The fact that we were able to accomplish this with gels made from keratin is pretty remarkable.”


Bioavailability of Curcumin: Problems and Promises

November 21, 2007

Mol Pharm. 2007 Nov 14
Anand P, Kunnumakkara AB, Newman RA, Aggarwal BB.
Cytokine Research Laboratory and Pharmaceutical Development Center, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030
Curcumin, a polyphenolic compound derived from dietary spice turmeric, possesses diverse pharmacologic effects including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiproliferative and antiangiogenic activities. Phase I clinical trials have shown that curcumin is safe even at high doses (12 g/day) in humans but exhibit poor bioavailability. Major reasons contributing to the low plasma and tissue levels of curcumin appear to be due to poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid systemic elimination.
To improve the bioavailability of curcumin, numerous approaches have been undertaken. These approaches involve, first, the use of adjuvant like piperine that interferes with glucuronidation; second, the use of liposomal curcumin; third, curcumin nanoparticles; fourth, the use of curcumin phospholipid complex; and fifth, the use of structural analogues of curcumin (e.g., EF-24). The latter has been reported to have a rapid absorption with a peak plasma half-life.
Despite the lower bioavailability, therapeutic efficacy of curcumin against various human diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, neurological diseases and Crohn’s disease, has been documented. Enhanced bioavailability of curcumin in the near future is likely to bring this promising natural product to the forefront of therapeutic agents for treatment of human disease.

Oral Curcumin Mitigates the Clinical and Neuropathologic Phenotype of the Trembler-J Mouse: A Potential Therapy for Inherited Neuropathy

August 7, 2007

Author(s) Mehrdad Khajavi, Kensuke Shiga, Wojciech Wiszniewski, Feng He, Chad A. Shaw, Jiong Yan, Theodore G. Wensel, G. Jackson Snipes, and James R. Lupski
The American Journal of Human Genetics, volume 81 (2007), page 000
DOI: 10.1086/519926
Mutations in myelin genes cause inherited peripheral neuropathies that range in severity from adult-onset Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1 to childhood-onset Dejerine-Sottas neuropathy and congenital hypomyelinating neuropathy. Many myelin gene mutants that cause severe disease, such as those in the myelin protein zero gene (MPZ) and the peripheral myelin protein 22 gene (PMP22), appear to make aberrant proteins that accumulate primarily within the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), resulting in Schwann cell death by apoptosis and, subsequently, peripheral neuropathy.
We previously showed that curcumin supplementation could abrogate ER retention and aggregation-induced apoptosis associated with neuropathy-causing MPZ mutants.
We now show reduced apoptosis after curcumin treatment of cells in tissue culture that express PMP22 mutants. Furthermore, we demonstrate that oral administration of curcumin partially mitigates the severe neuropathy phenotype of the Trembler-J mouse model in a dose-dependent manner.
Administration of curcumin significantly decreases the percentage of apoptotic Schwann cells and results in increased number and size of myelinated axons in sciatic nerves, leading to improved motor performance. Our findings indicate that curcumin treatment is sufficient to relieve the toxic effect of mutant aggregation-induced apoptosis and improves the neuropathologic phenotype in an animal model of human neuropathy, suggesting a potential therapeutic role
in selected forms of inherited peripheral neuropathies.

Curis Achieves Milestone under Wyeth Collaboration

April 2, 2005

Filed under: Promising Drugs

Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS), a therapeutic drug development company, today announced that it has achieved a development milestone under a collaboration with one of its corporate partners, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE). The milestone is based on Wyeth’s and Curis’ continued progress in preclinical development of Hedgehog pathway agonists for the treatment of stroke, neurological and other disorders. The milestone will trigger a modest payment from Wyeth to Curis in accordance with the terms of their 2004 agreement.
The Hedgehog signaling pathway regulates the normal development of the brain and spinal cord. Wyeth and Curis are collaborating to develop several promising small molecule agonist compounds that can activate the Hedgehog signaling pathway and thereby promote nervous system repair. Many of these small molecules are orally available and can enter into the brain and spinal cord, thus making them an attractive new class of drug development candidates for neurological disorders.


Neuren And Metabolic Collaborate To Develop Range Of Nerve Repair Compounds With Support From NZ Government

March 7, 2005

Filed under: Promising Drugs

Neuren Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Neuren) and Metabolic Pharmaceuticals Ltd (Metabolic) today announced that the two companies have agreed to collaborate to co-develop Neuren’s class of Neuro-regenerative Peptides (NRPs) for the treatment of degenerative conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, motor neuron disease and repairing the brain or nerves after injuries such as spinal cord injury. The parties will jointly develop the NRPs project with all intellectual property and commercial outcomes to be equally shared.
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