drugs to treat MS
Professor Richard Hughes, University of Melbourne, Victoria
Dr Susan Northfield,
University of Melbourne, Victoria
Dr Simon Murray, University
of Melbourne, Victoria
Grant - $21,000 over 2016
full funding support from the Trish Multiple Sclerosis Research Foundation
growth and re-growth of myelin is under the control of many different factors.
Associate Professor Hughes and his collaborators including MS
Research Australia-funded Dr Simon Murray, are studying the role of the brain-derived
neurotrophic factor (BDNF) protein in controlling the growth of myelin.
brain, BDNF binds to a receptor called TrkB, which is found on myelin-producing
oligodendrocytes. Activation of the TrkB receptor via BDNF is crucial for the
normal development of myelin in the nervous system. Using BDNF to increase
myelin growth in diseases such as MS may have potential for a new treatment
strategy. However, the BDNF protein itself is not suitable because it is too
large and broken down too quickly in the body.
Professor Hughes and his colleagues have instead developed a protein that
mimics the actions of BDNF, called TDP6. Early analysis of TDP6 show promise
for increasing myelin growth in cells grown in the laboratory. However,
synthesis of TDP6 is time-consuming and low yielding. This incubator grant will
enable Associate Professor Hughes and his colleagues to further study TDP6 and
related compounds to develop strategies for quick and efficient synthesis of
TDP6-related compounds that may be suitable as candidates for further drug
development to promote myelin growth in MS.