TORONTO, Feb. 20, 2014 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. announced today that Dr Neil Cashman, Amorfix Chief Scientific Officer, has published the results of a ground breaking study that shows how ALS is spread throughout the body and has profound implications for the development of new therapeutics to treat this devastating disease. The scientific paper was published in the prestigious journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Earlier studies from Dr. Cashman's laboratory showed that misfolded superoxide dismutase 1 (mSOD1) is associated with and likely causal to ALS. In addition, mSOD1 can cause native SOD1, a molecule normally protective to cells, to misfold and kill nerves rather than protect them. This is the so-called Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon where a molecule with beneficial properties misfolds and becomes a molecule that harms the body. The results of the current study show that mSOD1 is not only able to induce misfolding of native SOD1 in cells but can also spread throughout the nervous system leading to progressive neurological damage seen in ALS.
Amorfix has produced therapeutic antibodies that only bind and neutralize mSOD1, and not native SOD1 and, as such, take out the harmful molecule and allow the protective SOD1 to continue to function normally. These results suggest that our therapeutic antibodies have the potential to inhibit the spread of neurological damage in ALS and halt disease progression.
"This research sheds light on how this fatal disease progresses throughout the nervous system and provides additional scientific support for our ongoing efforts at Amorfix to develop new therapeutics and diagnostic tools for early detection and treatment of ALS", said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our therapeutic antibodies, exclusively licensed to Biogen-Idec, are in development while our internal efforts are directed at developing a companion diagnostic designed for early detection of ALS prior to the onset of severe disease. We are excited to be leading the way in this important endeavour as this represents a novel approach to therapeutic intervention for patients who currently have few treatment options."
ALS is a common neuromuscular disease, affecting an estimated 120,000 people of all races and ethnic backgrounds worldwide. According to the ALS Association, more than 5,600 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with ALS annually and an estimated 30,000 Americans have ALS at any given time.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is an early-stage product development company developing therapeutic antibodies and diagnostics targeting misfolded protein diseases. Amorfix utilizes its computational discovery platform, ProMIS™, to predict novel Disease Specific Epitopes (DSEs) on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. Using this technology, Amorfix is developing novel antibody therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In addition, Amorfix has developed two proprietary technologies to specifically identify very low levels of misfolded proteins in a biological sample: Epitope Protection™ and AMFIA™, an ultra-sensitive dual-bead immunoassay. Use of these technologies has generated a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) screening test for both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and an ultrasensitive method for detecting the hallmark of AD, aggregated beta-Amyloid, in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal models of AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
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SOURCE: Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
For further information:
Dr. Robert Gundel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 847-6957
Fax: (416) 847-6899
Chief Financial Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 644-7358
Fax: (416) 847-6899