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Probiodrug, VU University Medical Center to Assess Alzheimer's Assays

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – German biopharmaceutical firm Probiodrug and the VU University Medical Center Alzheimer Center in The Netherlands today announced a collaboration to evaluate molecular biomarker assays for Alzheimer's disease.

The assays will be assessed for their diagnostic, pharmacodynamic, and therapeutic use. Cerebrospinal fluid samples from well-characterized Alzheimer's disease patients at different stages of the illness will be analyzed and compared with CSF from age-matched control samples as part of the collaboration.

The assays can detect for the presence and concentration of pyroglutamated amyloid beta, or pGlu Abeta, which is produced by the enzyme glutamaminyl cyclase, the partners said, adding that the toxic peptide has been correlated with cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer's. The collaboration aims to correlate CSF concentration of the pGlu Abeta with the disease stage.

"The results of this comprehensive analysis should give us further insights into the relevance of pGlu Abeta and pGlu Abeta-containing oligomers in the pathology of AD," Probiodrug Chief Development Officer Inge Lues said in a statement. The company is developing a therapeutic approach to inhibit glutamaminyl cyclase.

VU University professor and Director of the school's Alzheimer Center Philip Scheltens added, "Aside from several diagnostic markers, which can be costly and cumbersome, there are currently no validated therapeutic biomarkers for the treatment of AD. The work we are undertaking with Probiodrug could lead to earlier identification of disease, which could allow treatment to commence before irreversible damage has been done."