Yesterday, the 11th of April, was the World Parkinson’s Day. On this occasion, HCS pharma would like to inform you about this disease and its work for new drug discovery.
What is Parkinson’s disease? It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. It is attributed to a degeneration of dopaminergic neurons that can be caused by several factors (environmental, genetic, etc.). Worldwide, nearly 5 million people are affected and this number could double by 2030. The average age of diagnosis is 58 years and its symptoms can take different forms: akinesia (slowness of movements), hypertonia (excessive rigidity of muscles), tremors, digestive disorders…
Its diagnosis is delicate, currently there is no biological analysis or imaging test that can provide a definite diagnosis. Patients remain asymptomatic until 50 to 70% of the dopamine neurons are destroyed. There is no treatment to prevent the onset or progression of the disease and the drugs on the market provide dopamine to treat the motor symptoms.
Moreover, more than 90% of drugs targeting central nervous system disease fail in clinical trials. This may be due to the 2D in vitro models used in preclinical trials which are too simple and do not take into account the complexity of the brain microenvironment. HCS Pharma therefore wishes to provide solutions thanks to its innovative 3D cell culture technology BIOMIMESYS® Brain, an hyaluronic acid-based hydroscaffold which mimic the extracellular matrix. Indeed, HCS Pharma developed a co-culture of dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes in 3D in this BIOMIMESYS® Brain matrix in the presence of Parkinson’s disease inducers. This more complete and relevant model will allow the screening of molecules of pharmaceutical interest and, hopefully, will give promising results.