GeNeuro‘s humanized antibody GNbAC1 promotes the rejuvenation of the myelin coating that protects nerve cells in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, or RRMS, a Phase 2 clinical trial shows.
The treatment is also safe, the study showed.
Dr. Hans-Peter Hartung of the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf in Germany presented the results at the 7th Joint ECTRIMS-ACTRIMS Meeting in Paris, Oct. 25-28. The presentation was titled “Week 24 results from a Phase IIb trial of GNbAC1 in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (CHANGE-MS; Clinical trial assessing the HERV-W Env antagonist GNbAC1 for Efficacy in MS).”
The research dealt with the retrovirus underpinnings of some of our DNA. Researchers believe up to 8 percent of our genome — or full set of DNA, including all of our genes — consists of retroviral DNA. This is DNA altered by the remnants of ancient retroviral infections. Scientists call the remnants human endogenous retroviruses, or HERVs.
Growing evidence suggests that activating HERVs contributes to inflammatory processes, and consequently to diseases like MS. In fact, a protein known as pHERV-W Env is common in inflammation patches known as lesions in MS patients’ brains, and in their blood.
The lesions are areas where myelin, a protein that protects nerve cells, has deteriorated. Loss of myelin is a hallmark of MS.
PHERV-W Env protein promotes inflammation and prevents cells known as oligodendrocyte precursor cells from restoring myelin in the brain lesions that have lost it.
GNbAC1 is a humanized IgG4 antibody that blocks the pHERV-W Env protein’s pro-inflammatory effects and promotes remyelination. GeNeuro studied GNbAC1 in three completed Phase 1 and 2a clinical trials before conducting the Phase 2b study that Hartung discussed.
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