Study co-author D. Martin Watterson, a professor of molecular pharmacology and biological chemistry at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, whose lab developed the drug, said Northwestern has recently been issued patents to cover this new drug class.
It has licensed the commercial development to a biotech company that has recently completed the first human Phase 1 clinical trial for the drug, Watterson said.
The drugs in this class target a particular type of brain inflammation -- neuroinflammation -- which is a common denominator in the neurological diseases and in traumatic brain injury and stroke.
Neuroinflammation is increasingly believed to play a major role in the progressive damage characteristic of these chronic diseases and brain injuries, Watterson said.
The new class of drugs -- represented by MW151 and MW189 -- offers an entirely different therapeutic approach to Alzheimer's than current ones being tested to prevent the development of beta amyloid plaques in the brain. The plaques are an indicator of the disease but not a proven cause, Watterson said.
A preclinical study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found when one of the new drugs was given to a mouse genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's, it prevented the development of the full-blown disease.