Mekinist (trametinib), which has been licenced by the FDA for the treatment of melanoma, was shown in a preclinical trial to have a neuroprotective impact on Alzheimer’s disease, according to Genuv Inc. of South Korea, which has announced the publication of the study.
The findings, which were presented in Nature Molecular Psychiatry, demonstrated that when mice were given Mekinist, the brain cells improved their ability to dispose of clumps of protein, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of amyloid beta plaques.
The researchers found that the treatment was able to repair damaged nerve structures as well as restore normal synaptic function. In addition to preventing the widespread mortality of neurons in mice, the researchers found that the drug was able to do both of these things. In turn, cognitive abilities that had been lost owing to Alzheimer’s disease were regained in mice that had been given Mekinist orally. They were able to detect new things and performed better in maze testing. They were also able to navigate mazes.
The founder and chief executive officer of Genuv, Sungho Han, Ph.D., was quoted as saying in a release that they are thrilled to share these incredibly positive preclinical results. They feel that they have shown early proof of a new approach to neurodegenerative disease, one that focuses on neuroprotection and neurogenesis.
They believe that they have shown early proof of a new way to treat neurodegenerative diseases, one that focuses on neuroprotection and neurogenesis. Han also mentioned that pre-clinical research on MEK1/2 inhibitors is something that Genuv intends to keep doing.
The pharmaceutical powerhouse GlaxoSmithKline was responsible for the development of Mekinist, which received FDA clearance in June 2013 for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. The medicine achieves its effect by selectively attacking and inactivating the MEK 1 and 2 proteins, thereby inhibiting a signalling cascade that leads to the proliferation of cells.
Mekinist has developed a solid foothold in the cancer arena thanks to its ability to inhibit the proliferation of cells. In the years that followed the drug’s approval for the treatment of melanoma, it received even more affirmations from the FDA, including for the treatment of thyroid cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Mekinist received accelerated approval in June for use in conjunction with Tafinlar (dabrafenib), manufactured by Novartis, for the treatment of patients who had unresectable solid tumours that had spread throughout the body.
On the other hand, Genuv is planning to take an altogether different approach to cancer medicine. The clinical-stage company is searching for new and existing treatments that are both neuroprotective and neurogenic using its patented technology drug screening platform called ATRIVIEW. These therapies are the ones that act via previously unrecognised routes to retain and encourage homeostasis in the nervous system and stimulate adult neural stem cells to differentiate into neurons.
According to what Han told BioSpace, their idea was that in order to create treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, they needed healthy neurons to restore the damaged cognitive functions of Alzheimer’s patients. As a result, they searched for chemicals that could promote the development of endogenous neural stem cells in the brain. This would allow them to replenish injured neurons and restore the function of neural networks.
The Mekinist, which Genuv has given the name SNR1611, is the leading contender that came out of ATRIVIEW. It has shown the most potential among a very extensive list of other FDA-approved drugs. Mekinist already possesses an Investigational New Drug (IND) designation for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and the company is now conducting Phase I/IIa trials for this indication. In addition, Genuv is working on another MEK1/2 inhibitor codenamed GNUV101 for the treatment of an unspecified neurological condition.
In the last few months, several allegations of data manipulation have shaken the foundations of Alzheimer’s research. An analysis published in the journal Science in July came to the conclusion that the Western blot images used to support a core theory, namely, that the amyloid oligomer Aβ*56 is linked to memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease, might have been modified. Cassava Sciences, another significant player in the Alzheimer’s arena, has also been accused of manipulating data to support their medicine, simufilam. This time, the data in question related to Alzheimer’s patients.
In spite of the fact that these controversies have undermined faith in the sector, they have also rekindled enthusiasm for finding alternate means of treating Alzheimer’s. With its approach that focuses on neuroprotection and neurogenesis, Genuv appears to be capable of making the most of this opportunity.
According to what Han said, drug development based on the beta-amyloid theory has a lengthy history of clinical failures, particularly in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Because these therapies already have established safety profiles and pharmacokinetics, drug repurposing can help speed up the development process and cut costs.