Select: PharmaKure’s propriety biomarker assays for Alzheimer’s Disease (ALZmetrix®) and for Parkinson’s Disease (PARKmetrix®) detects the toxic forms of both amyloid-β and α-synuclein, respectively. This allows us to select drugs based on their effect on blood samples.
The scientific literature makes it increasingly clear that the toxic forms of these proteins that cause neuronal damage as small soluble aggregates usually termed oligomers. These were thought to be confined to the brain or spinal fluid as investigators could not reliably measure them in blood.
The PharmaKure breakthrough confirmed that these oligomers are present in blood, but attached to blood cells. Previous investigators had missed this as they discarded the blood cells and tested the remaining plasma, where concentrations are very low.
The healthy form of these proteins are thought to be monomers or single proteins. Oligomers form when they misfold. They become seeds that can cause more proteins to misfold and grow into oligomers.
A key strategy for drug or antibody treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has been plaque busting i.e. breaking apart the amyloid-β plaques in the brain. If the liberated amyloid-β remains, it could seed more oligomers and speed up the disease progression. In fact recent publications suggest that plaque formation may be a defence mechanism to mop up these toxic oligomers.
• Through use of the ALZmetrix® and PARKmetrix® assays, PharmaKure has a unique technology to rapidly and inexpensively test a drug, or drug combinations in the laboratory for their ability to break down oligomers and prevent them from reforming. If the drugs work the levels of oligomeric amyloid-β in a patient’s blood sample will reduce and not build back up on storage.
• They can also help select patients for clinical trials who have demonstrated a positive response on their blood to the drug candidates.
• They can also select patients for inclusion into cohorts based on similar blood oligomer levels. A critical factor in failure in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease has been an inability to select patients at the same stage of disease. These biomarkers offer a new way to help minimise this impact.