Antibodies That Target Neurotoxic Proteins in Alzheimer’s Are Identified

Catarina Silva, MSc avatar

by Catarina Silva, MSc |

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ProMIS Neurosciences researchers have discovered new antibody candidates that selectively bind to the neurotoxic form of the tau protein — one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

These new antibodies join the company’s PMN310, a humanized antibody that attacks only toxic forms of the amyloid beta protein linked to Alzheimer’s.

Neuronal aggregates of abnormal forms of beta-amyloid and tau proteins have been observed in the brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s and are considered the biological marker of the disease.

Therapeutic approaches aimed at decreasing beta-amyloid and tau levels have so far failed. While there’s still no effective treatment for this neurodegenerative disorder, investigators remain hopeful that targeting the toxic forms of both these proteins can become a potential therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s disease.

ProMIS tackled the challenge of producing antibodies that selectively target the toxic form of a protein, while sparing its normal parts. The company’s platform enables the fast production of high-quality antibody candidates. Trough their drug discovery and development platform, investigators can generate an antibody in months, compared to traditional techniques that can take years to achieve the same result.

By targeting disease-related molecules, scientists are potentially speeding up the drug discovery process, putting them a step closer to developing new treatments.

“The ProMIS platform addresses a problem that has plagued the Alzheimer’s drug development community: the inability to selectively target the neurotoxic form of tau and amyloid beta,” Neil Cashman, PhD, a renowned researcher in protein misfolding diseases and chief science officer of ProMIS Neurosciences, said in a news release.

“A recently published scientific study from the team led by Nobel laureate Stanley B. Prusiner, M.D., shows that Alzheimer’s disease is a double prion disorder, resulting from self-propagating amyloid and tau prions,” he said.

Prions (“proteinaceous infectious particles”) are a type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally, leading to neurodegenerative diseases, also known as prion diseases.

“We’re proud that our pipeline may offer the critical one-two punch to neutralize both of these toxic oligomers (proteins made up of multiple polypeptide chains) and offer potential disease-modifying therapy that this patient community so desperately needs and deserves,” Cashman said.

Besides Alzheimer’s, ProMIS is also working on several antibody candidates that target prions that have been linked to Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: alpha-synuclein and TDP-43, respectively.

ProMIS Neurosciences has a podcast called Saving Minds that is focused on the future of medicine for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. To learn more about disease-specific therapy development efforts, get the podcast at iTunes or Spotify.