Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a small drug development company dedicated to clinically proving the neuroprotective benefits of selective astrocyte activation, and advancing breakthrough therapeutic agents for treating brain injury patients.
Brain injuries are a substantial cause of death and disability worldwide. The brain is particularly vulnerable to damage as neurons have a limited capacity to repair, regardless if injury is caused by a severe or mild trauma such as a concussion, ischemic episodes such as stroke, or degenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. As a result, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and neurodegeneration often result in the debilitating and largely irreversible degradation of a patient’s cognitive and sensorimotor functions.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals is pursuing an innovative neuroprotective strategy to protect and repair neurons that are damaged by selectively stimulating astrocytes. This enables selective activation of their caretaker processes including the removal of harmful extracellular molecules and the restoration of ion homeostasis. The company is investigating and advancing small molecule pharmaceutical medicines that will provide neuroprotection to a range of brain injury patients.
Brain Injuries are a distressingly common medical condition and one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. The brain is particularly vulnerable to injury as neurons have a limited capacity to repair. When born, the brain has essentially all the neurons it will have in life as unlike other cells in the body, neurons stop reproducing shortly after birth. As these neurons die, they are not replaced, often resulting in the debilitating and largely irreversible degradation of a patient’s cognitive and sensorimotor functions.
There is tremendous benefit to protecting neurons throughout an acute injury or from chronic damage. Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals is pursuing an innovative neuroprotective approach to protect and repair neurons that are damaged or under stress due to injury.
TBI & Concussions
TBI typically occurs when a sudden external force jolts the head or body that damages and functionally impairs the brain. TBIs can happen through falls, motor vehicle accidents, sports-related impacts, assaults, explosive blasts, etc. Injuries range in their complexity and severity, from “mild concussions” with a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe” with an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury. New research is now highlighting the disturbing long-term impacts of repetitive TBI / concussions, which can trigger age-associated neuropathologies that result in a range of symptoms and disabilities over many years.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is disrupted due to a blockage (ischemic) or from the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain (hemorrhagic), causing neurons in an area of the brain to die. The effects of the stroke depends upon the location and breadth of damage, and the symptoms of that damage starts to show in the parts of the body controlled by those brain cells. Strokes can cause paralysis of one or both sides of the body, speech and language problems, memory loss, behavioral changes, and even death.
Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and debilitating conditions that result from the progressive degeneration and / or death of neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Neurodegeneration causes problems with movement (ataxias) and / or cognitive function (dementias), and includes a number of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). While many of neurodegenerative diseases are genetic, other causes can include viruses, alcoholism, tumors or toxins, and as is now clear, repetitive brain injuries.
Neurons also accumulate considerable levels of cellular damage over time, which is generally considered the reason why many neurodegenerative diseases associated with long-term cellular stress, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, occur in aged individuals.
Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals Inc. is headquartered in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, and works in partnership with the University of Texas Health at San Antonio (UTHSA).