Jellyfish Protein Extends Neuroprotective Tentacles at Neuroscience Conference

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Data presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience highlighted the ability of a jellyfish protein “aequorin” to protect neurons after a stroke. In prior conferences, data from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee demonstrated aequorin’s ability to protect cells prior to an ischemic event. Quincy Bioscience Quincy Bioscience is a partner in the research and development of the jellyfish protein as a novel therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases.

Aequorin is derived from the jellyfish species Aequorea Victoria

Stroke is used in the laboratory because the model replicates a biochemical process in a few minutes what neurodegeneration takes years to do and gives us a good idea of a compound's neuroprotective ability.

Data presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience highlighted the ability of a jellyfish protein “aequorin” to protect neurons after a stroke. In prior conferences, data from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee demonstrated aequorin’s ability to protect cells prior to an ischemic event. Quincy Bioscience Quincy Bioscience is a partner in the research and development of the jellyfish protein as a novel therapeutic for neurodegenerative diseases.

The data presented at the prestigious conference highlights the continuing story of an unusual compound making its presence known in the field of neuroscience. “Stroke is used in the laboratory because the model replicates a biochemical process in a few minutes what neurodegeneration takes years to do and gives us a good idea of a compound’s neuroprotective ability.” explains Mark Underwood, Quincy Bioscience president.

The neuroscience pipeline for drug development has been lacking significant breakthroughs for several years. “The bar for Alzheimer’s drugs is not very high. The existing approved drugs for Alzheimer’s have provided a small amount of improvement for the lives of patients and caregivers.”

According to the calcium hypothesis of brain aging, one of the reasons for reasons for neurodegeneration is the brain cell’s inability to regulate calcium ions. Calcium binding proteins (CaBPs) are intracellular proteins that help regulate calcium. Their decline is gradual in normal aging and is believed to contribute to elevated calcium ion levels which in turn affect brain function. Conversely, in neurodegeneration, CaBP production declines rapidly and contributes to cell death.

For people over forty years of age it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 brain cells die each day which can lead to cognitive challenges such as an impaired ability to learn and retain new information as well as memory loss.

Aequorin is a naturally-occurring CaBP and was first discovered in glowing jellyfish in the Puget Sound by Princeton researcher Osamu Shimomura, Ph.D. in 1962. Dr. Shimomura was one of the recipients of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2008 for the discovery and development of this protein for the advancement in calcium research. Aequorin’s DNA structure is very similar to the CaBPs produced in the brain. Quincy Bioscience has patent-filings for the novel use of Aequorin for the purposes of neuronal calcium regulation.

ABOUT QUINCY BIOSCIENCE
Quincy Bioscience is a biotech company located in Madison, Wisconsin focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel medicines to treat age related memory loss and the diseases of aging. The company's therapeutic focus is on alleviating the consequences of impaired calcium homeostasis - the imbalance of calcium ions thought to be related to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

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Todd Olson

Mark Underwood
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