Nov 3, 2020
This podcast zeros in on an
exciting therapy to address nerve damage caused by either trauma or
disease. Paul Brennan, NervGen Pharma's CEO, tells how researchers
identified this compound as a potential game changer by inhibiting
factors contributing to nerve damage.
Listen and learn
Paul Brennan is the president, CEO, and director of NervGen Pharma, a biotech company focused on therapies for patients who suffer from different nerve injury classifications. Their research on these different types, whether from trauma or neurodegenerative disorders, pointed out a common factor: scar tissue, which prevents nerve repair. There are chemicals in scar tissue called CSPGs, or chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, and these chemicals are the focus of NervGen's new compound. Dr. Jerry Silver at Case Western discovered how CSPGs inhibit nerve growth through an interacting receptor that impedes the neuronal response. He was able to synthesize a peptide that works by "inhibiting the inhibition," and allowed growth, remyelination, and increased plasticity.
Paul Brennan explains how this works in clear and interesting terms, helping listeners understand facts about neurodegenerative diseases and nerve trauma along the way. Basically, CSPGs get "tuned up" in the body as a response to trauma and disease. They decrease inflammation and provide a structural element for protection. NervGen is designing their therapy to first let the CSPGs do what needs to be done and then have doctors utilize the compound, which is a synthesized peptide that disrupts and diminishes the receptor activity. He adds that this compound has the potential to address everything from Alzheimer's therapy to spinal cord injury treatment.