A group of researchers from the University of Texas at Galveston, USA, works on the design of therapeutic vaccines that are used to treat neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Mexican researcher Marcos Jair Guerrero Muñoz, who belongs to this scientific team, explained in an interview that his role in the project was the generation and purification of conformational monoclonal antibodies to be used in preclinical studies.
Guerrero Muñoz has a degree in Biological Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León (UANL), where he also studied the master’s degree in Molecular Biology and the doctorate in Morphology oriented to neuroscience.
“From my doctoral studies I was interested in neurodegenerative diseases and at the end there was the possibility of conducting research on cancer for Johns Hopkins Hospital, but I chose to work in the Department of Neurology at the University of Texas at Galveston.”
On the vaccines, the Mexican scientist details that they have as therapeutic target amyloid oligomers of proteins related to neuronal death. For unknown reasons, certain proteins change their three-dimensional structure to adopt toxic forms that cause neuronal death in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “The antibodies that make up these vaccines recognize these toxic structures and bind to them, making them easier to be removed by the immune system.”
As part of the project, the University of Texas patented the antibodies in which Dr. Guerrero Muñoz worked. The research has concluded preclinical studies, i.e. in vitro and in vivo (murine models) tests. The next step is testing it in humans under all the protocols that the authorities impose.
“The vaccine is planned to be administered in the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases in order to prevent its progression and damage to the patient’s quality of life,” said Guerrero. Although the researchers expect to test the vaccine as a preventive method, they also want to see if it may be functional even when the disease has some progress, added Dr. Guerrero Muñoz, who is currently researcher at the Faculty of Chemical Sciences of the UANL.
Source: Agencia ID