News Feature | April 24, 2014

Lpath And WRAIR Partner To Study Brain Injury Drug

By Estel Grace Masangkay

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Lpath, an antibody-platform company focusing on bioactive lipid-targeted therapeutics, and scientists from the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) announced the start of a collaborative research agreement study for brain injury drug Lpathomab.

Lpathomab is an antibody to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) intended for the treatment of brain injury resulting from blast overpressure. The drug works as a sponge which soaks up LPA, a molecule known to damage neurons and promote inflammatory responses in the central nervous system. Recent research published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation shows that Lpathomab is able to reverse most of the damage caused by trauma to the nervous system in a controlled cortical-impact model of TBI in mice models. Lpath is at present conducting studies for Lpathomab intended as a basis for IND applications. The company said it plans to enter Phase I clinical trials in early 2015 for neuropathic pain and neurotrauma.

Incidence of blast traumatic brain injury (TBI) has increased in recent wars due to the use of improvised explosive devices and hand-held grenades. TBI is a leading cause of disability among service members. Prevalence of concussions in soldiers returning from recent wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan is estimated at 19.6 percent, accounting for 150,000 casualties. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for any form of TBI. Blast TBI is a major cause of long-term rehabilitation problems that afflict veterans such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Lpath-WRAIR collaboration will extend initial studies on Lpathomab to determine if the drug can be used to reduce the size of a blast TBI and improve functional behavioral outcomes in experimental animal models. WRAIR scientists who will serve as investigators in the study are Dr. Joseph Long, a U.S. Army civilian and chief, Blast Induced Neurotrauma Branch Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at WRAIR, and Dr. Peetthambaran Arun, from Clinical RM.

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