Science in Israel: New hope for those with Parkinsons, ALS

BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company for Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, has signed a licensing agreement for its V-Smart™ drug-delivery technology with Lauren Sciences LLC that could improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other central-nervous-system diseases.

BGN Technologies signed another research and licensing agreement with Toucan Capital for a patented breakthrough treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Our pre-clinical studies demonstrate that novel, nano-sized V-Smart™ vesicles encapsulate small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids, cross the blood brain barrier and release their encapsulated contents in the brain,” said V-Smart™ developer professor Eliahu Heldman of BGU’s Department of Clinical Biochemistry. “Our goal is to target, protect and restore dopaminergic neurons [nerve cells] in the brain that deteriorate during the course of Parkinson’s disease.”

The ALS breakthrough was made by professor Esther Priel, director of the School for Medical Laboratory Sciences at BGU. She developed chemical compounds that boost an enzyme, telomerase, which slows the progression of ALS. Priel showed that the compounds raise the levels of telomerase in human cells, stem cells and lab mice.

“By injecting the compound into mice who are developing ALS, we can successfully delay the development of the disease and increase their lifespan,” Priel explains. “This is a scientific breakthrough since these compounds have great potential to fight neurodegenerative and other aging-related diseases.”

To learn more about the pioneering research and academic programs that are flourishing in the Negev, contact Daphna Noily at [email protected] or call (415) 927-2119.