OCT 16, 2018 8:22 PM PDT

Immunotherapeutic Targets A Blood-Clotting Protein

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Fibrin is a blood protein that normally does not cross to the brain, however, several neurological disorders have a defect in the blood-brain barrier that allow large molecules, like fibrin, to pass through triggering inflammation. Many studies have pointed to a leaky blood-brain barrier as an early event in brain diseases that causes neurodegeneration. The process is believed to be implicated in the death of nerve cells seen in multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and other disorders.

Treatments intended to inhibit the blood from harming the brain have not been available due to researchers fear of targeting the blood-clotting protein, fibrin, and the effect it may hold on bleeding patients. But, now, researchers from the Gladstone Institutes have found a way to overcome this hurdle with a new immunotherapy; a highly effective antibody that inhibits the biochemical activity of fibrin that contributes to neurodegeneration in the brain

"We have developed a monoclonal antibody to target a major culprit in the blood that damages the brain," said Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, lead investigator and a professor in the Department of Neurology at UC San Francisco. "Fibrin-targeting immunotherapy could protect the brain from the toxic effects of blood leakage and may also have beneficial effects in other organs affected by inflammatory conditions with vascular damage."

In a mouse model, the new antibody would enter the brain and accumulate in fibrin-rich regions, protecting against neuro-inflammation and neurodegeneration in both disease models. The research team published their findings in Nature Immunology. "We discovered that fibrin also contributes to brain disease through oxidative stress -- an unanticipated result," says research scientist and first author of the study, Jae Kyu Ryu, PhD. "Treatment with the antibody put a damper on this fibrin-driven oxidative mechanism, which may contribute to many different neurodegenerative diseases."

Chemical Structure of Fibrin. Image via NIH

The study treated mouse models of Alzheimer’s with the antibody after they had developed an accumulation of amyloid proteins in their brain; a hallmark of the disease. In comparison, to the placebo, the mice had less brain inflammation and less neuronal death. "Our study supports that vascular damage leading to immune-driven neurodegeneration may be a common thread between diseases of different etiologies with blood-brain barrier leaks," said Akassoglou. "Targeting fibrin with immunotherapy is a new approach that could be used to test the therapeutic benefits of suppressing this pathogenic mechanism in multiple disease contexts."

Source: Gladstone Institute

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
MAY 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 06, 2020
Breakthrough in Antibody Treatment for COVID-19
Israeli scientists have announced significant progress in isolating an antibody that may be effective in treating those ...
MAY 12, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAY 12, 2020
Does Herbal Drink from Madagascar Cure COVID-19?
Andry Rajoelina, the president of Madagascar, an island off the coast of Southern Africa, has made claims that his count ...
JUN 07, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JUN 07, 2020
Should You Smoke Cannabis Seeds and Stems?
When smoking cannabis, people typically use either the flower, buds, or leaves. But what about the seeds and stems? Can ...
JUN 13, 2020
Cancer
JUN 13, 2020
Examining Cancers Effect on the Immune System for Prognostic Use
Most think of cancer in the context of where it is on the body like breast or pancreatic cancer. There are several more ...
JUN 18, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JUN 18, 2020
FDA Cancels Emergency Approval for Hydroxychloroquine
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to cancel emergency use authorization for Hydroxychloroquine and C ...
JUN 12, 2020
Technology
JUN 12, 2020
How A Computer Sea Slug Can Get Addicted To A Drug
Sea slugs have long been used to study brain models especially in research concerned with memory and learning. Now, rese ...
Loading Comments...