An experimental drug developed at Tel Aviv University may be suitable for treating a variety of rare syndromes that impair brain function.
Researchers at Tel Aviv University, led by Professor Illana Gozes of the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler College of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, investigated autism, schizophrenia, and other conditions.
The researchers also found that experimental drugs previously developed in Professor Gozes’ lab are effective in experimental models of these mutations, and are useful in a variety of rare brain-impairing disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. We also found that it may lead to effective treatment of this syndrome.
Participants in this study recently published a paper in a scientific journal molecular psychiatry.
“Some cases of autism are caused by mutations in various genes. Today, over 100 genetic syndromes associated with autism are known, 10 of which are relatively common. It’s considered to be a popular (albeit still very rare),” Gozes said.
“Our lab is primarily focused on one of the ADNP syndromes caused by mutations in the ADNP gene that disrupt the function of the ADNP protein and lead to structural defects in the neuronal skeleton of the brain. In the current study, we have identified specific mechanisms causing this damage in mutations in two different genes, ADNP and SHANK3, genes associated with autism and schizophrenia. These two mutations are estimated to be responsible for thousands of cases of autism worldwide. ”
Gozes, who is also director of TAU’s Adams Super Center for Brain Studies, explains: This same regulatory site is found in he-SHANK3, a well-studied protein with mutations associated with autism and schizophrenia.
“We conclude that the ability to bind SHANK3 and other similar proteins provides some degree of protection against the deleterious effects of mutation.”
In the next phase of their research, researchers discovered additional sites on the ADNP protein that can bind SHANK3 and similar proteins. His one of these sites is in his NAP, a section of his ADNP developed into an experimental drug (dabnetide) by Professor Gozes’ lab.
Furthermore, the researchers demonstrated that long-term treatment with dabnetide significantly improved behavior in an animal model of SHANK3-induced autism.
Prof. Gozes: “Previous studies have shown that dabnetide is effective in treating ADNP syndrome models. This new study shows that SHANK3 mutations cause Ferran-McDiarmid syndrome and autism by the same mechanism.” I am now convinced that it may work for other syndromes as well.”
The experimental drug, davnetide, has been cleared by the FDA as an orphan and rare pediatric drug for the future treatment of developmental syndrome ADNP, and is licensed exclusively to ATED Therapeutics Ltd, a technology transfer company at Tel Aviv University. Protected by patents through Ramot.
Help identify PTSD in veterans
Scientific breakthroughs from Tel Aviv University and Haifa University may use saliva samples to facilitate rapid, objective and accurate diagnosis of people suffering from PTSD. As part of the study, researchers characterized the psychological, social, and medical conditions of approximately 200 participants while simultaneously collecting saliva samples from them.
The results of this study show a typical microbial picture in the saliva of veteran soldiers who experienced combat stress-related reactions (from the First Lebanese War) and are now suffering post-trauma.
According to the researchers, these results may help in the future to arrive at an accurate and objective diagnosis of people suffering from post-traumatic injury and to develop microbial-related medicines. related).
This research natures authoritative molecular psychiatry magazine.
Using music to detect mental decline in old age
Researchers at Tel Aviv University have developed a method to detect cognitive decline in old age by measuring brain activity using music tests and portable devices.
According to the researchers, the method is based on measuring 15 minutes of electrical activity in the brain while performing a simple musical task and can be performed by any staff member at any clinic without the need for special training. Easy to implement. According to the researchers, “Our method allows for regular monitoring and early detection of cognitive decline to provide treatment and prevent rapid and severe deterioration.”
The researchers further point out that this type of testing is particularly important in light of increasing life expectancy and the associated aging population.
The research was led by Neta Maimon, a PhD student at the Faculty of Psychological Sciences and the Buchmann Mehta School of Music, at Tel Aviv University. The article was published in the journal. The forefront of aging neuroscience.
Maimon, who specializes in music perception, explains that music has a profound effect on different centers in the brain. Music, on the other hand, is known to quickly stimulate moods, especially positive emotions. On the other hand, in different situations, music can be cognitively challenging and activate the frontal lobes of the brain, especially if you try to focus on different aspects of the music and perform specific tasks at the same time.
According to Maimon, the combination of these two features makes it possible to create highly complex, yet fun and easy-to-perform cognitive tests. In addition, positive, moderately rhythmic music enhances task concentration and performance. So, for example, the famous “Mozart Effect,” which shows that people perform better on intelligence tests after listening to Mozart’s music, actually has nothing to do with Mozart’s music. Great for running intelligence and creativity tests.
Researchers therefore hypothesized that it would also be possible to use musical tools to test activity in the frontal lobes of the brain and challenge subjects to the extent that they could elevate their minds. fun.