More efficient Huntington’s disease treatment. Patent for UG Faculty of Biology

The patented compound can be potentially applied in Huntington’s disease treatment – genetic central nervous system disease characterized by mobility issues and psychic disorders, among other symptoms.

The Patent Office of the Republic of Poland granted another patent to the University of Gdańsk, for the invention titled ‘2 - izotiocyjanianoetylobenzen do zastosowania w leczeniu choroby Huntingtona’ (MEDICAL APPLICATIONS OF ETHYLBENZENE 2-ISOTHIOCYANATE IN HUNTINGTON’S DISEASE). It will help develop the first efficient treatment for this disease, it will minimize its cause, not only mitigate the symptoms.

The patent is the outcome of the cooperation of researchers from the Faculty of Biology of the University of Gdańsk. The invention’s creators are: prof. dr hab. Anna Herman-Antosiewicz, dr Aleksandra Hać from the Department of Medical Biology and Genetics and mgr Joanna Brokowska from the Department of Molecular Biology.

-The essence of the invention is the new way of applying ethylbenzene 2- isothiocyanate, the naturally occurring compound in Brassicaceae (cabbage family), to synthesize drug actively stopping incorrect protein deposits build-up, which causes Huntington’s disease – explains prof. dr hab. Anna Herman-Antosiewicz. -Those deposits disrupt proper functioning of nerve endings and lead to their death, not only does ethylbenzene 2- isothiocyanate prevents their build-up but also speeds up its disposal. What is significant, this compound is relatively safe for other, healthy cells. All of that makes it a prospective drug for this neurodegenerative disease (possibly for other diseases caused by incorrect protein deposits build-up), a drug with minimum toxicity for healthy cells.

The patented compound may be used as potential drug for Huntington’s disease. Using this compound may allow cells to survive, despite having the flawed copy of the gene -  coding the toxic form of the protein (huntingtin), through stopping the creation of this toxic protein and enabling its effective disposal by a cell. As a result, this compound could protect nerve cells from dying, which is a main cause of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease, so it would prevent or slow down this disease.

It is the second patent granted this year to the researchers from the Faculty of Biology.

Translation: Adam Myzyk

Press Office of University of Gdańsk