Friday, January 18, 2008

Lohocla: The Forefront of Neurogenetics

It was back in 2005 when Lohocla Research Corp was featured on CLSDF. Progress continues to made and thus the update. A quick background… Lohocla is a development-stage company focused on the therapy and diagnosis of pain, psychiatric, and addictive disorders. Products include rationally designed therapeutics and diagnostic tools developed for mental health and nervous system disorders.

Genetic Markers for Depression. Lohocla has identified a polymorphism in adenylyl cyclase type 7. A seven repeat version of this marker is especially prevalent in the Caucasian females who have a familial history of depression. The marker can be used (either alone or with other markers) to differentiate major depression from bipolar disorder and other forms of mental illness and, thereby, guide therapy. More recently, a set of single nucleotic polymorphisms (SNPs) have also been identified.

Genetic Markers for Alcoholism. A series of genetic markers have been identified that are associated either with predisposition to alcohol tolerance, abuse, and dependence or resistance to alcoholism. Polymorphisms associated with the AC9 locus serve as predictors of reduced risk of alcohol-related problems, while several other genes (Grid2, Efnb3, Grin1, Zfp179, Tceb11, Cria1, Sec8, Prdx5, Rad 50, Catna2 and B2m) correlate with a predisposition to alcohol tolerance and dependence.

Therapeutics for Alcohol-Withdrawal. Lohocla has designed a series of diphenylureida kynurenic acid derivatives (DCUK compounds) that block voltage-sensitive sodium channels and, at the same time, antagonize the strychnine-insensitive glycine binding sites associated with the NMDA receptors. Such drugs may have greater efficacy in controlling CNS withdrawal hyperexcitability and reducing withdrawal-induced neuronal damage than currently available alternatives. DCUK compounds may be effective at doses that will not induce the adverse behavioral stimulation and ataxia encountered with other NMDA antagonists or with voltage-sensitive sodium channel blockers.

Stem Cell Treatment for Schizophrenia and Addictive Disorders. Lohocla has filed a patent application directed at engineering a human dopamine transporter gene into a neural stem cell with either constitutive or inducible expression. Such engineered stem cells would be injected into the forebrain of a schizophrenic patient or a drug addicted patient. Neural stem cells engineered to express the dopamine transporter would result in increased uptake and inactivation of dopamine and, therefore, ameliorate the clinical symptoms.

***Update*** Be sure to get your vote in for the CLSDF Readers Company of the Year Award. ONLY TWO WEEKS remain to cast your ballot! Voting ends on 31 January.

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