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Neurodegeneration may be tied to drainage issues in the brain

PureTech Health’s new internal programme focused on treating central nervous system (CNS) disorders via modulation of the brain’s lymphatic system, based on the work of Jonathan Kipnis, from Centre for Brain Immunology and Glia, at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, was published in Nature.In 2015, Dr Kipnis published his original discovery of lymphatic vessels in the brain in Nature. Building on that discovery, Dr Kipnis’ latest publication reveals the potential role of these lymphatic vessels, including in Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and age-associated cognitive decline. The publication presents preclinical models that suggest modulation of lymphatic function in the brain may prevent or delay diseases associated with aging, explained PureTech in the announcement of the publication.

“Dr Kipnis’ original work completely changed the way we view immune privilege in the brain – the unique biological properties that protect certain areas of the body from inflammatory immune responses,” said Joseph Bolen, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at PureTech Health.

Bolen said that this new discovery offers new insights into the lymphatics’ role in maintaining brain homeostasis and suggests that neurodegeneration may be tied to drainage issues in the brain. “Because neurodegeneration is associated with so many devastating conditions, these findings provide us with a unique opportunity to develop treatments that address one of the world’s highest global disease burdens,” Bolen said.

PureTech Health noted that it has exclusively licensed this intellectual property from the University of Virginia (UVA) Licensing & Ventures Group and is developing it in collaboration with Dr Kipnis at UVA and as a part of PureTech’s internal research and development division, which is focused on lymphatics and immune cell trafficking.

Dr Kipnis said that the work exploring the function of lymphatic vessels has shed light on novel therapeutic approaches that complement the lymphatics focus of PureTech’s research and development work. He said: “I look forward to building on a great partnership with the team at PureTech Health to further advance these findings and translate them into first-in-class therapies that could fundamentally change the way we intervene in neurodegenerative disease.”

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