A New Approach to Treating Neurological Disorders

Through a dedicated development program with Amgen, one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Guilford is pioneering a new approach to alter the course of serious neurological disorders.

The Need:
In the United States alone, more than five million people have been diagnosed with severe neurological disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Despite the pervasiveness of these and other neurodegenerative illnesses, available therapies principally treat only the symptoms of these disorders, while offering little in the way of actual disease modification. Unfortunately, although nerve regeneration appears to be one of the most promising scientific advances on the horizon, there are still no medicines yet available that can cause nerves to regrow after they have been damaged by injury or disease.

The News:
Guilford Pharmaceuticals is pioneering a new approach in the search for novel therapies to address serious neurological disorders. Guilford is developing a new class of drug candidates - called neuroimmunophilin ligands - that may have the potential to regenerate nerve cells damaged by injury or disease. If successful, neuroimmunophilin ligands may offer hope for the millions of people afflicted by neurodegenerative disease, by potentially slowing down, stopping or reversing the course of their illness.

The Background:
Guilford is a pioneer in the rapidly emerging field of neurotrophic research, or the study of nerve regeneration. In 1990, scientists led by Dr. Solomon Snyder, Director of the Department of Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins Medical School and a co-founder of Guilford, discovered that an immunosuppressive drug called FK-506 was able to induce nerve growth in both test tube and animal experiments. Using state-of-the-art drug design techniques, Guilford's scientific team synthesized a series of novel prototype drugs possessing the nerve regeneration characteristics of FK-506 without any undesired immune suppression effects.

In animal models, neuroimmunophilin ligands offered distinct advantages over other experimental nerve regeneration agents because they appeared to target only damaged nerve cells (earlier compounds promoted regrowth of both normal and damaged nerves); could be administered orally; and, can penetrate the blood-brain barrier without direct injection into the brain.

The Status:
In November 2002, Guilford initiated a Phase II clinical trial of GPI 1485. The Phase II clinical trial is a two year, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter clinical trial of GPI 1485 in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson's disease. The trial is expected to enroll 200 patients, and will be completed in late 2004. For further information, please contact Guilford at (410) 631-6300.

This page was last updated on Tuesday, March 11, 2003

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