New drugs with great promise in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases
Professor Claude Wischik and his group discovered the tau protein pathology in the brain underlying the tangles first identified by Alzheimer, and went on to discover the first compounds to inhibit aggregation of tau protein - a process linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
The findings derived from several years of molecular discovery and clinicopathological studies at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge. From 1998, in Aberdeen, the group developed cellular and transgenic mouse models of tau protein aggregation, worked out the industrial manufacture of novel drugs and formed the University of Aberdeen spinout company TauRx Therapeutics Ltd with 60 employees.
Clinical efficacy of this new approach was shown in one of the largest phase 2 clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. Animal models were used to test potential drugs for future clinical trials in Parkinson’s and other diseases, and develop novel ligands for imaging-based diagnosis.
With the help of the University, we have been able to grow lab research into potential treatments and diagnostics for diseases of global societal impact.”
Professor Claude Wischik
Research by the Aberdeen group has brought in £26 million of funding to the University and has helped to bring in over £200 million for TauRx to conduct global phase 3 clinical trials.