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NervGen: Repairing the Nervous System

Backed by over three decades of thorough research, NervGen’s drug candidate has the potential to repair damage to the nervous system.

Canadian R&D innovator NervGen Pharma Corp. is developing a novel drug candidate, NVG-291, that is intended to treat nervous system damage caused by degenerative conditions, including multiple sclerosis (MS) , Alzheimer’s disease, spinal injury, brain injury, stroke , and many more central nervous system diseases.

Currently, there are no known cures, and there are few new drug candidates, with the potential to either ‘stop’, reverse, or repair damage to the nervous system.. For example, existing MS drugs focus on addressing underlying symptoms, such as inflammation, in an effort to slow down the progression of the disease. The difference with current MS drugs is that, once a disability has developed in a patient with MS, the drugs cannot restore the lost function.

In pre-clinical trials, the drug has demonstrated the capability to repair and revitalise damaged neurons by enabling the body’s natural ability to repair itself. NervGen’s CEO, Paul Brennan, describe NVG-291 as “a completely new treatment paradigm.”

Backed by 30 years of research

The treatment was developed following over 30 years of pioneering medical research, with the aim of determining the key element to repairing nervous system damage and restoring lost function. The work was carried out by award-winning American neuroscientist Dr. Jerry Silver.  NervGen, having the license to Dr. Silver’s breakthrough research, says the drug has the potential to repair nervous system damage in a range of debilitating medical indications, whether caused by trauma or chronic disease.

How NVG-291 works

Any time there is damage to the nervous system – whether that is via trauma or a neurodegenerative disease such as MS or Alzheimer’s disease – scar tissue is formed. NVG-291, has been shown to stimulate multiple repair mechanisms at a cellular level in animal studies. Not only does NVG-291 generate damaged neurons, but it also creates entirely new connections.

In particular, this peptide allows nerves to repair in places that are normally highly inhibited by scar tissue and promotes “remyelination” – the process of replacing myelin, the tissue that surrounds and protects neurons and which is often damaged as a result of diseases such as MS.

The ability of NervGen’s NVG-291 to remyelinate and enhance plasticity represents a significant step forward in repairing the chronic effects of MS.

The brainchild of renowned researcher Dr Jerry Silver

Dr Jerry Silver, co-inventor of NVG-291, is a professor at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic and conducts his research at the Department of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr Silver has been working on this unique approach to nerve rejuvenation biotechnology since the early 90s, by focusing on a protein called CSPG that inhibits the body’s natural ability to repair and regenerate damage to the nervous system.

After years of thorough research, Dr Silver now believes he has found the solution to curtailing the activity of these CSPG molecules, thus promoting the regeneration of damaged nerves. It involves neutralising a certain receptor called tyrosine phosphatase sigma (PTPσ) that prevents healing in the scar tissue.

For years, Dr Silver focussed his energies on spinal cord injury research, where he demonstrated unprecedented results in animal models using earlier iterations of NVG-291, dramatically improving both motor function and sensory function.

Implications for future treatment

This continued progress of NVG-291 towards human clinical trials in MS patients, as well as Alzheimer’s sufferers, also represents an opportunity for Dr Silver to revolutionise the treatment of some of society’s most debilitating and hard-to-treat diseases.

NervGen is now working to achieve clinical validation for NVG-291, in the hopes that it will help to eventually conquer such debilitating conditions as Alzheimer’s disease, MS, spinal injury, brain injury, stroke, and many more central nervous system diseases lacking effective treatments.

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