Sharks are being used to cure Alzheimer's
Danish pharmaceuticals firm Lundbeck along with private US research firm Ossianix have been using shark antibodies to breach the brain-blood barrier in mice.
The brain-blood barrier is a layer of cells around cerebral blood vessels on the brain that protects it from being breached by toxins.
Researchers have struggled in their attempts to pass the barrier and as such have been unable to treat brain related diseases using medicine.
However, the team at the pharmaceuticals firm has discovered how it can attach therapeutic proteins to antibodies from sharks, which essentially tricks the brain into accepting the drug.
Nerve cells on the brain affected by Alzheimer's
The experts used antibodies derived from sharks as the fish has an immune system very similar to that of a human and they were the first species to develop antibodies – proteins that are used by the immune system to detect things like viruses and bacteria – 400 million years ago.
By attaching the therapeutic proteins to the antibodies, the experts could target specific parts of the brain which are affected by Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Sharks have a similar immune system to humans
Lundbeck Senior Vice President of Global Research, Kim Andersen, said in a statement: “Ossianix has generated a world leading platform for delivering antibodies and potentially other drug agents into the brain with significant potential to benefit patients with diseases in the central nervous system.”
Medical breakthroughs: Nine of the most modern miracles
Thu, September 8, 2016
Incredible medical breakthroughs leading to promising new treatments are just around the corner. Take a look at some of the most recent discoveries.
1 of 10
The team state that the technology is still several years from being sufficient enough for human use, but Ossianix CEO Frank Walsh told the Financial Times that it could be in use, at least for human trials, in as little as two years.