Fred1208 wrote:“This protein is highly expressed in lesions of MS, especially active lesions,” prompting an inflammatory
response, Curtin told BioWorld Today. Data collected by the company since its inception suggest 75 percent of MS patients express MSRV-Env, “which represents a very exciting target for treatment,” he said.
Although drugs currently used to treat MS are designed to slow the neurological damage and disability caused by the disease, GeNeuro’s approach is directed upstream of the inflammatory demyelinating cascade, at the origin of the brain lesions, Curtin explained.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24405691Retrovirology. 2014 Jan 9;11(1):2. doi: 10.1186/1742-4690-11-2.
HERV-W polymorphism in chromosome X is associated with multiple sclerosis risk and with differential expression of MSRV.
García-Montojo M, de la Hera B, Varadé J, de la Encarnación A, Camacho I, Domínguez-Mozo M, Arias-Leal A, García-Martínez A, Casanova I, Izquierdo G, Lucas M, Fedetz M, Alcina A, Arroyo R, Matesanz F, Urcelay E, Alvarez-Lafuente R.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune demyelinating disease that occurs more frequently in women than in men. Multiple Sclerosis Associated Retrovirus (MSRV) is a member of HERV-W, a multicopy human endogenous retroviral family repeatedly implicated in MS pathogenesis. MSRV envelope protein is elevated in the serum of MS patients and induces inflammation and demyelination but, in spite of this pathogenic potential, its exact genomic origin and mechanism of generation are unknown. A possible link between the HERV-W copy on chromosome Xq22.3, that contains an almost complete open reading frame, and the gender differential prevalence in MS has been suggested.
MSRV transcription levels were higher in MS patients than in controls (U-Mann-Whitney; p = 0.004). Also, they were associated with the clinical forms (Spearman; p = 0.0003) and with the Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) (Spearman; p = 0.016). By mapping a 3 kb region in Xq22.3, including the HERV-W locus, we identified three polymorphisms: rs6622139 (T/C), rs6622140 (G/A) and rs1290413 (G/A). After genotyping 3127 individuals (1669 patients and 1458 controls) from two different Spanish cohorts, we found that in women rs6622139 T/C was associated with MS susceptibility: [χ2; p = 0.004; OR (95% CI) = 0.50 (0.31-0.81)] and severity, since CC women presented lower MSSS scores than CT (U-Mann-Whitney; p = 0.039) or TT patients (U-Mann-Whitney; p = 0.031). Concordantly with the susceptibility conferred in women, rs6622139*T was associated with higher MSRV expression (U-Mann-Whitney; p = 0.003).
Our present work supports the hypothesis of a direct involvement of HERV-W/MSRV in MS pathogenesis, identifying a genetic marker on chromosome X that could be one of the causes underlying the gender differences in MS.
PMID: 24405691 [PubMed - in process] Free full text
Human endogenous retrovirus (HERV) genes represent about 8% of the human genome. A member of the HERV family W, the Multiple Sclerosis-Associated Retrovirus (MSRV) gene, encodes an envelope protein (Env), which can activate a proinflammatory and autoimmune cascade through its interaction with Toll-like receptor 4. Due to its proinflammatory property and an inhibitory effect on oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation, the MSRV-Env protein could play a crucial role in the pathogeny of multiple sclerosis. GNbAC1 is a humanized monoclonal antibody of the immunoglobulin G4 type, which is directed against MSRV-Env. After validation of the MSRV-Env as a therapeutic target in preclinical experimental models, a clinical development program was initiated.
This study evaluated the safety profile, pharmacokinetic parameters, and immunogenicity of GNbAC1 in healthy male volunteers.
In this first-in-humans, Phase I, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-escalation study, each subject received a single dose of IV GNbAC1 0.0025, 0.025, 0.15, 0.6, 2, or 6 mg/kg or inactive vehicle (placebo), infused over 1 hour. Tolerability and other laboratory parameters were observed, and regular blood sampling was performed, to study the pharmacokinetic properties and immunogenicity of this monoclonal antibody.
A total of 33 male subjects (mean age, 44 years) completed the study. GNbAC1 was well tolerated after dosing in all subjects and in each dose cohort. Only minor and nonspecific adverse events (AEs) were recorded; no serious AEs were reported. Pharmacokinetic data show a dose-linear pharmacokinetic profile. The mean elimination half-life ranged between 19 and 26 days, with therapeutically efficient concentrations maintained over a 4-week periods at doses of 2 and 6 mg/kg. No emergence of anti-GNbAC1 antibodies were detected after dosing in any subject over the entire observation period of 64 days.
In these healthy male subjects, the safety and pharmacokinetic profiles of GNbAC1 appeared favorable. These findings are expected to allow for the launch of a Phase II development program for this innovative therapeutic approach in patients with multiple sclerosis. ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01699555.
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