Collaborative Project Will Target Gut Metabolites Involved in Parkinson’s

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center (PICC) and Axial Biotherapeutics have launched a partnership to develop interventions targeting gastrointestinal metabolites that may fuel the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Previous work by Axial’s scientific co-founder Sarkis Mazmanian, PhD, has shown that the human gut microbiome — the natural collection of microorganisms living in our guts — can amplify several features of Parkinson’s disease in a mouse model.

Specifically, the gut microbiome plays a key role to induce gastrointestinal and motor deficits, along with other disease features in the brain. Transferring representative samples from the gut microbiome of Parkinson’s patients into these mice enhanced physical impairments compared to microbiota transplants from healthy human donors.

These findings suggest a link between the gut and the brain that, when unbalanced, may become a risk factor for developing the disease.

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“Our team is conducting advanced clinical research, which suggests that disorders like Parkinson’s are not just a brain condition but very likely have origins in the GI [gastrointestinal] system,” Carrolee Barlow, MD, PhD, and CEO of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center said in a press release.

This research collaboration will study Axial’s microbiome-inspired interventions using PICC’s distinct  cellular and animal models for Parkinson’s disease and its effects in the gastrointestinal system.

“We are excited to join forces with Axial Biotherapeutics and their team to investigate an intervention with the potential to eradicate and block these microbial effects and improve GI function. It is our ultimate goal to determine if this approach can stop PD [Parkinson’s disease] from progressing. Partnerships like this, along with financial donations, will make our goal of finding a solution for PD a reality,” Barlow said.

Barlow now is a member of Axial’s Neurology Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board, recently formed to guide the company’s clinicals program.

“The collaboration with Dr. Barlow and her team at the PICC is expected to significantly increase the pace of development for our approach to PD,” said David H. Donabedian, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Axial Biotherapeutics.