February 11,2018 Prof. David Naor, from the Lautenberg Center for General and Tumor Immunology at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, believes that all these diseases, which are associated with pathological amyloid proteins, could be neutralized by the 5-mer peptide Naor has spent the last 10 years researching and developing with the support of the university’s Yissum technology-transfer company, the Israeli government and Spherium Biomed of Spain. Prof David Naor has been focused on the role of CD44 and other hyaluronan-binding molecules (e.g., RHAMM) in autoimmune and cancer diseases.
Spherium Biomed now seeks several million dollars funding for the next step to start human clinical trials of Naor’s novel, IP-protected peptide — a synthetic protein snippet that significantly reverses the damaging effects of inflammatory diseases and Alzheimer’s disease in mouse models, and restores the learning capacity of Alzheimer’s mice.
“I believe that within two years we would know for certain if our academic product can translate into a therapeutic drug to combat inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases,” Naor says.
Naor began by studying 5-mer’s effectiveness in rheumatoid arthritis, which affects about one percent of the world population. Currently, about $30 billion worth of biologic drugs are sold each year that effectively control, but cannot cure, rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, these drugs don’t work in one-third of patients.
The results of Naor’s experiments were astounding. When mice with collagen-induced arthritis were treated with 5-mer peptide, the severely inflamed tissues in their joints reverted to nearly normal. No harmful side effects were observed.
“Once the rheumatoid arthritis experiment was repeated successfully several times, we looked at a different chronic inflammatory disease – multiple sclerosis, where the inflammation is not in the joints but in the brain,” says Naor.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most widespread disabling neurological condition of young adults around the world, usually striking between the ages of 20 and 50. There is no cure, but the Israeli-developed blockbuster drug Copaxone reduces the frequency of relapses.
Here, too, Naor’s results were noteworthy. Five days after MS-like disease was induced in mice, 5-mer peptide injections caused a significant decrease in accumulation of inflammatory cells in the central nervous system and significant reduction in limb paralysis. The effects were weaker when the disease was more progressed, but theoretically the peptide could be introduced during a remission phase of MS.
Recently, in collaboration with Prof. Haim Ovadia from Hadassah University Medical Center, Naor’s lab achieved another breakthrough by delivering 5-mer peptide via mouth rather than by injections, with the same therapeutic effect.
“That means that we may be able to produce pills for oral delivery rather than to provide the drug by injection,” Naor says.
Spherium Biomed tests of 5-mer peptide in mouse models of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) showed it can reduce the gut inflammation in IBD better than the currently prescribed biological medication, which is effective only in half of IBD patients.
For more information, see: Israel21C https://www.israel21c.org/one-drug-could-treat-alzheimers-ms-crohns-and-more/