Our Science

TACKLING NEUROINFLAMMATION

Alzheimer’s disease. Stroke. ALS. Parkinson’s disease. Today, more than 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from cognitive and physical impairment as a result of these and other neurodegenerative diseases. By 2030, when 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65, these numbers are expected to more than double. Unfortunately, there has been very little progress to date in the early diagnosis and discovery of effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

animated gif showing microglia attacking healthy neuronal synapse

Through pioneering research by AZTherapies’ founders and other renowned scientists, it is becoming increasingly clear that neuroinflammation plays a critical role in neuronal death in the brain and spinal column, resulting in cognitive and motor function impairment. This research also indicates that maintaining healthy microglia, a vital part of immune response within the central nervous system (CNS), could be key to slowing or halting neurodegenerative disease.

VIDEO: In their activated, pro-inflammatory state, microglia (red) attack an otherwise healthy neuronal synapse (neon yellow). AZTherapies believes it has found a way to reduce this activation and damage.

SHIFTING MICROGLIA INTO THEIR NEUROPROTECTIVE STATE

Microglia are one of the brain’s primary defenses against pathogens and injury. They are innate immune cells that exist in two states.

In their neuroprotective state, microglia migrate around the CNS helping maintain neuronal health and clearing foreign matter, debris, and plaques. When activated by invasion, injury, or ischemia (restriction of blood supply and oxygen), microglia shift into their pro-inflammatory state, releasing immune-stimulating cytokines and free radicals to help defend against pathogens and tumors. In the absence of disease, microglia maintain homeostasis and effectively carry out both of these roles.

However, neurodegenerative diseases have been shown to cause chronic neuroinflammation that results in microglia shifting predominantly into their pro-inflammatory state, a process called microgliosis, exacerbating the neuroinflammation and causing neurotoxicity, further damage, and neuronal death.

Microglia states

At AZTherapies, we have discovered ways to potentially shift microglia from this chronic pro-inflammatory state to their neuroprotective state. Our robust product pipeline leverages these insights, and, we believe, has the potential to treat a broad array of serious diseases resulting from unchecked neuroinflammation.

LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR TARGET DISEASE AREAS AND SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH