News about vaccines against Parkinson's and multiple system atrophy

16 04 2015

The European Union supports further development of therapeutic vaccines against Parkinson's and multiple system atrophy

An international consortium of European top teams of research has received significant funding from the EU to the development of therapeutic vaccines against Parkinson's disease (EP) and the Multiple system atrophy (AMS). Led by Austrian biotech AFFiRiS AG company, the Consortium will use an original tandem strategy to advance the development of two vaccines therapeutic candidates in parallel. Both are unique in the potential of disease modification, something that makes missing urgently both on the EP as well as AMS. The two vaccines targeting a protein called Alpha-synuclein, It plays a key role in the onset and progression of PD and the AMS. In addition, the group tries to identify biomarkers with diagnostic value and prognosis. The Consortium is composed with leaders of medical and scientific opinion from Germany, France and Austria. The project, called SYMPATH, He has been awarded € 6 million, from the 7 th framework programme of the European Union, and will have a duration of 48 months.


Vaccine candidates (PD01A and power) they are part of the research of Austrian biotechnology company AFFIRIS AG who leads the Consortium and the clinical development in the field. The AFFITOME technology enterprise-based, both vaccines are intended to the protein Alpha-synuclein (Alpha-syn), It plays a key role in the onset and progression of the EP and of the AMS, latter being a disease an orphan, without registered therapy. These vaccines have demonstrated their modifying potential of disease in several systems of pre-clinical models.


Recognized as one of the world's leading companies in the field of Alpha-synuclein immunotherapy, AFFiRiS brought basic medical and scientific experts from eight prominent European organisations for the FP7 project, called SYMPATH. These institutions are the Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany, INSERM F-CRIN of Toulouse and the departments of Neurology of the University hospitals of Bordeaux and Toulouse, of France,the College of medicine, Department of Neurology and the PROSENEX company of Innsbruck, Austria.


Commenting on this innovative approach, Professor Achim Schneeberger, responsible for clinical development at AFFiRiS and coordinator of SYMPATH, explained: “This clinical trial developed by the Consortium SYMPATH strategy sets a new standard for therapeutic vaccines and modifying agents of disease in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and multiple system atrophy”. Dr. Markus Mandler, of the same llaborario, Adds:. “The tandem strategy is full compliance with clinical maturation AFFiRiS program. Based on the excellent safety profile of all vaccine candidates, This program allows a very quick test of new vaccines in humans. We are very pleased that the main opinion leaders are working with us in this project”.


In addition, the SYMPATH Consortium aims to identify biomarkers with diagnostic value and prognosis for both diseases, EP and AMS. Also it will be to test the feasibility of the use of the AMS as an indication of clinical reference for synucleinopathies, a group of diseases characterized by aggregation of Alpha-synuclein in so-called Lewy bodies. The use of the AMS as a clinical reference for synucleinopathies also could benefit much therapies in general the AMS, as the treatment of the AMS gives faster positive reading for the modification of the disease after vaccination. “On the basis of research recent in neurodegenerative diseases, you have opted to not only go to the EP, but also AMS, studies of vaccines PD01A power. If it is successful, It could be targeted to an unmet clinical additional and intense as multiple system atrophy, without registered therapy. Our approach could, at the same time, provide new knowledge scientists about the origin common in EP and AMS “, concluded the Prof. Wassilios Meissner, University Hospital of Bordeaux and expert clinical in AMS. [en línea] Palma de Mallorca (ESP):, 16 April of 2015 [REF. 09 in May of 2014] Available on Internet:


12 12 2013

The study of the retina displays form non-invasive evolution of Multiple Sclerosis

Neurodegenerative diseases are chronic and there is still no effective treatment, in what has been a growing concern in our aging society. The lack of therapy adds to the difficulty of studying the effect of new drugs on the brain, Since the death of the patient cannot be a diagnosis and histopathological study full.

The journal Annals of Neurology publishes a work that demonstrates that it is possible to monitor the evolution of Multiple Sclerosis through the retina. Dr. Íñigo Gabilondo is the first signatory of the work, and the last is the Dr. Pablo Villoslada, the Multiple Sclerosis group, Pathogenesis and new therapies of the IDIBAPS Neuroimmunology program. The work has been done in collaboration with the service of Neurology and the ophthalmology service of the Hospital Clínic, that you configured the Visual Via laboratory, funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.


The eye is a window to the brain, Since this extends to the retina via the optic nerve. The retina, to be part of the brain, is also affected by the neurodegenerative diseases as Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. Techniques laser image analysis allow to achieve resolutions of up to 1.000 times smaller than 1 mm, more than enough to analyze that poke in the eye for the optic nerve and nerves that measure a micron in diameter. Even you are working with techniques of spectroscopy for molecular imaging that would identify changes in the composition of neurons before morphological changes appear.

The published work in Annals of Neurology combines optical coherence tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in 100 patients with Multiple Sclerosis, at the time of inclusion on the study and a year later. The evolution of data obtained through imaging techniques related to the clinical progression of patients to demonstrate that there is a degeneration of the nerves of the visual way representative of what happens inside the brain. In addition, degeneration of axons of the neurons was independent of the buds suffered by patients, most obvious disease and acute inflammatory phase but they don't have as much importance on their progress.

This study applies these techniques to Multiple Sclerosis, and soon we will analyse other ailments such as Parkinson's or REM sleep disorders, that are a symptom of more premature a neurodegenerative disease known. The objective is to monitor the disease in a way non-invasive from its earliest stages, and thus obtain information enabling to predict its evolution in new cases. These techniques are invaluable for testing the effect of the new clinical approaches seeking to stop the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.


The article reference:Gabilondo I, Martinez-Lapiscina HD, Martinez-Heras E, Fraga-Pumar E, Llufriu S, Ortiz S, Bullich S, M Sepulveda, C Falcon, Berenguer J, A. Saiz, Sanchez-Dalmau B, Villoslada P.TRANS-synaptic axonal degeneration in the visual pathway in multiple sclerosisAnnals of Neurology. 2013 Oct 2. DOI: 10.1002/Ana.24030. [Epub ahead of print]Article inPubMed [en línea] Barcelona (ESP):, 12 de diciembre de 2013 [REF. 04 in December of 2013] Available on Internet:

They develop a molecule with potential applications in the treatment of Parkinson's disease

22 04 2013

A study led by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) It has developed a molecule that decreases the neuroinflammation and neuronal death, and modulates the neuroplasticity in the substantia nigra of the brain, Parkinson's disease-affected area.




“It's a potential new drug for Parkinson's disease. It has an innovative mechanism of action that could change the course of neuronal loss associated with this disease”, noted researcher at the CSIC Institute of chemical medical Ana Martinez.

The compound S14, that has already been patented and licensed, It has been tested successfully on mice and, in a couple of years, It could enter into a phase of human clinical trials, as explained from the CSIC

According to the study, that have been presented at the 11th International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's in Florence (Italy), the S14 is capable of inducing the formation of new dopaminergic neurons in mice damaged by 6-hydroxydopamine, the neurotoxin more employed in the development of experimental models of Parkinson's in rodents.

Today the treatment of this disease is palliative and tends to replace the action of neurotransmitters lost through the administration of l-dopa and other agents, with the aim of increasing the level of dopamine and its effects.

The researchers point out that the main problem related to this treatment is that prolonged use of l-dopa produces abnormal, involuntary movements in patients, What worse quality of life.

The exploitation license has been acquired by Araclon Biotech, company Grifols; While pre-clinical development of the new drug has been partially funded by a public-private partnership program INNPACTO project.

“Given the good results obtained in mice, the preclinical development works have begun, in order to request the authorization for, in a couple of years, start the clinical phase in humans”, Adds the researcher.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease in which dopaminergic neurons are progressively lost and the cause that produces it is unknown for now.

The disease affects one in every thousand people worldwide and is the second most frequent in elderly neurodegenerative disease, only surpassed by Alzheimer's.  In Spain, According to data from the Spanish society of Neurology, There are some 150.000 affected by this disease.

The main symptoms are movement disorders, as a resting tremor, muscle stiffness and slowness of movement.  Also other symptoms such as cognitive loss associated, disorders of sleep and depression, among others. [en línea] Madrid (ESP):, 22 de abril de 2013 [REF. 10 April of 2013] Available on Internet:

They transform skin into cells of the nervous system

2 02 2012

Scientists in United States managed to turn skin cells directly into major cellular components of the nervous system.


In the experiment, carried out in mice, the researchers of the School of medicine at Stanford University, California, they didn't have to resort to the process of generation of stem cells.

Scientists turned skin cells into the three main types of nerve cells.

And this new process of “direct conversion” It opens the possibility to obtain any type of cell in the human body without having to depend on the reprogramming of adult cells or embryonic stem cells.

Research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (PNAS) (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), managed to generate neural precursor cells, which can become both the main types of cells in the nervous system, including neurons.

As scientists express, the discovery opens up the possibility of being able to use this technique for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

But to be still carrying out more tests to confirm that the procedure can be used with human skin.

Stem cells can become any type of specialized cell in the human body and why it has been thought to have an enormous potential for the treatment of many diseases.

Currently being conducted several clinical trials with stem cells to treat patients who suffered cerebrovascular disease through forms of blindness from.

One of the main obstacles in this field, mainly ethical, It is the source from where come these pluripotent stem cells: the embryos.

The scientists found an alternative method: the use of adult cells, taken from the patient, It can be reprogrammed into stem cells “induced”, able to return the type of cell that is required.

This process, However, It has resulted in the activation of cancer causing genes.

Direct conversion

Stanford scientists now seem to have found another alternative that avoids the need to create induced pluripotent stem cells: the direct conversion of the patient in specialized cells skin cells.

The same team of scientists had already managed to transform skin of mice directly into neurons.

"We are very excited with the prospect of power"

using these cells in potential treatments “

Prof. Marius Wernig

And could now create precursor cells or “suckler” of the nervous system, which can develop in the three main types of nerve cells: neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

The advantage of these precursor cells is that once they are created they can be grown in a laboratory and generate huge numbers of cells, which is extremely important if they are to be used in any treatment.

The skin cells and nerve cells contain the same genetic information. However, each interprets the genetic code in a different way.

This process of interpretation is controlled by the so-called “transcription factors”.


The scientists used a virus to “infect” the cells of the skin with three transcription factors that are known are in large numbers in the neural precursors.

Three weeks later, almost an of each 10 skin cells turned into precursor neural.

“We are very excited with the prospect of being able to use these cells in potential treatments” expresses the Professor Marius Wernig, who conducted the study.

“Showed that cells can integrate into the brain of a mouse and produce a missing protein which is very important for conduction of electrical signals in neurons”.

“This is important because the model of mice we simulated a human genetic brain disease”.

“However, We need to do more studies to generate similar cells from human skin and analyze its safety and effectiveness” Adds the scientist.

For its part, Dr. Deepak Srivastava, who is investigating the conversion of heart muscle cells, says that the study “It opens the possibility of considering new ways to regenerate damaged neurons using the cells surrounding the area of the lesion”. [en línea] London (UK):, 2 de febrero de 2012 [REF. 31 in January of 2012] Available on Internet: