Natural aging, neurodegenerative disease and trauma to the brain are associated with damage to neurons and can result in cognitive decline, memory failure and loss of motor coordination. One common reason for neuronal damage and cell death is the breakdown of microtubules – cylindrical strands of protein that form a scaffold within the cell. Factors that cause microtubule breakdown include the loss of tau function, a protein that normally acts to stabilize microtubules. When microtubules break down, chemical transmission between neurons and the transport of essential nutrients within a cell are disrupted. This disruption has a negative effect on the communication between neurons, leading to the symptoms associated with neurodegenerative diseases and ultimately causing the neurons to die.
Studies have shown that when damage occurs to the brain, the central nervous system tries to overcome this damage through natural neuroprotective mechanisms. This includes altered gene expression and production of neurotrophic factors. However, in cases when the damage becomes too great, these natural mechanisms are often inadequate and external intervention is required.
Treatment with neuroprotectants keeps the brain’s neurons alive and can prevent the progression of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy, as well as acute disorders such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.
To see how Neuroprotection works, watch this.
Allon’s Neuroprotective Agents
Allon’s neuroprotective compounds are derived from proteins that occur naturally in the brain and are among the mechanisms used by the brain to protect itself. Unlike currently-marketed therapies that only address the symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, Allon’s proprietary compounds have the potential to be disease modifying by preventing neuronal cell death. They have been shown to work at the cellular level to protect or shield neurons from injury and have been extensively validated in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases and trauma.
Allon’s compounds prevent neuronal cell death by repairing the microtubular network and potentially restoring both axonal transport within nerve cells and chemical transmission between them. They also promote neurite growth, which is dependent on microtubule formation and key to restoring proper function. Because the compounds cross the blood brain barrier, a selective filter that prevents many substances from entering the brain, they are able to access the diseased area.
Allon’s neuroprotective compounds are based on two naturally-occurring proteins produced by the brain:
- Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP)
- Activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF)
The two platforms are based on different proteins so the drugs developed from each are different molecules with different therapeutic mechanisms and distinct commercial opportunities. Davunetide is derived from ADNP, while the pre-clinical stage drug AL-309 is derived from ADNF.