The doctor in Neurosciences Pablo Muñoz, director of the Center of Translational Neurology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Valparaíso and associate academic of the Center for Biomedical Research of this campus, obtained the patent in Chile for a natural compound prepared based on chitosan polymers extracted from the carapace of the spider crab and bioactive substances present in the myrtle fruit (murta).
Its preparation and use have initially shown to be effective in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, as well as, cerebrovascular accidents and other diseases related to aging.
This patent, which arose from an investigation that lasted five years, derives from results obtained in the laboratory –a phase that also considered tests on animals and projections with epidemiological models. The following stage is studying them in the clinical field, with the aim of developing a nutraceutical (natural drug) feasible to be supplied to human beings.
As explained by Dr. Pablo Muñoz, who leads the team of researchers in charge of this work, this record alludes to a pioneering technology at a national level and very little explored even in the world that consists in the design of a sort of container capsule or structure of nanofibers of chitosan (the second most common polymer in nature and which is present in most crustacean shells such as crabs, crabs and lobsters), assembled with bioactive neuroprotective compounds, the latter present in the myrtle fruit.
“These nanofibers have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, a protective mechanism that the brain has to prevent the entry of foreign molecules,” explained the director of the Center for Translational Neurology at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Valparaíso.
“This is indispensable to the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, since to date there is no effective therapy against them, basically because the drugs used do not reach the target organ located inside the brain because of that barrier,” he added. .
“However, thanks to this compound, we are confident in being able to drive antioxidant molecules and other substances into the brain for that purpose,” he said.
Obtaining this patent was the culmination of a project that in its first stage was funded by the Copec Foundation and collaborative work between the University of Valparaíso, the BIOTEX company and two other higher education institutions.
It is an innovation of high impact and importance, because in the short term it can improve quality of life of people who exhibit a higher prevalence of diseases associated with aging.