Drug Combo Therapy Protects Blood-Brain Barrier

Drug Combo Therapy
Prof. Alon Friedman

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev  Prof. Alon Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., and his research group have developed a new drug combination therapy that protects the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and prevents development of various neurological diseases.

The proposed treatment is a combination therapy of two FDA approved drugs, Memantine and Losartan, which have been shown in preclinical studies to protect BBB integrity when administered together. Moreover, the research team has also developed an early diagnostic tool based on permeability analysis, enabling early treatment.

Currently, the ability to treat neurological diseases is limited, and is usually initiated only after symptoms are apparent and brain damage is substantial. However, Prof. Friedman, a neurosurgeon and member of BGU’s Inter-Faculty Brain Science School, discovered that treating the BBB in the early stages with this novel approach can protect the brain, prevent disease development and facilitate early diagnosis.

The BBB is a highly specialized interface that separates the circulating blood from the brain’s extracellular fluid in the central nervous system and only allows certain molecules to enter into the brain tissue. Disruption of the BBB plays an important role in cellular damage in neurological diseases including stroke, brain tumors and brain infections. BBB breakdown allows entry of neurotoxic blood products causing inflammatory response and major brain damage. As a result, the integrity of the BBB and the ability to repair damage are impaired.

“The role of the BBB in disease and aging is becoming better understood,” says Dr. Ora Horovitz, senior vice president of business development at BGN Technologies, BGU’s technology-transfer company. “This therapy is relevant for many central nervous system indications including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, post-operative and post-radiation cognitive decline, age-related macular degeneration, migraines, and others. Moreover, both drugs are already approved for other indications with a validated activity.”

BGN is currently seeking partners for further development of this promising combination therapy.

About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The company brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, high-tech and cleantech, as well as initiating leading technology hubs, incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, it has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, IBM, PayPal, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Merck, Sigma, and Bayer, securing value and growth for BGU as well as for the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.

About American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (AABGU) plays a vital role in sustaining David Ben-Gurion’s vision: creating a world-class institution of education and research in the Israeli desert, nurturing the Negev community and sharing the University’s expertise locally and around the globe. As Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) looks ahead to turning 50 in 2020, AABGU imaginesa future that goes beyond the walls of academia. It is a future where BGU inventsa new world and inspires a vision for a stronger Israel and its next generation of leaders. Together with supporters, AABGU will help the University foster excellence in teaching, research and outreach to the communities of the Negev for the next 50 years and beyond. Visit vision.aabgu.org to learn more.