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Breakthrough in Understanding Neurodegenerative Diseases

On September 29, the American Neurological Association held its annual meeting in Chicago. This year's Presidential Symposium addressed the question: How Many Neurodegenerative Diseases are Caused by Prions? (A prion is a protein that can fold in multiple, structurally distinct ways, at least one of which is transmissible to other prion proteins (Source: Wikipedia).) The role of the Symposium was to give an overview of the breadth of neurogenerative diseases caused by misfolded, prion-like proteins. 


The American Neurological Association invited Dr. Neil Cashman, Professor at the University of British Columbia and Promis Neurosciences' Chief Scientific Officer, to join the Presidential Symposium together with Drs. Robert H. Brown, Jr., University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Henry Paulson, University of Michigan Health System. Fellow faculty members included: Drs. John Collinge, UCL Institute of Neurology, Mark Diamond, University of Texas Southwestern and J. Paul Taylor, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The panel overwhelmingly agreed on the role of prions in many neurodegenerative diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), Alzheimer's Disease (AD), among several others. A strong consensus emerged that proteins misfold in multiple ways creating different strains that propagate causing these diseases. In the case of AD, Beta Amyloid and Tau proteins are the suspected culprits.

Such consensus of the experts in the field is new and was reached after many studies and hard work of the experts, based on newly gained scientific findings.  Over the past 10 years, Dr. Neil Cashman has been at the forefront of developing and promoting this hypothesis, which the ANA President acknowledged by congratulating Dr. Cashman at the annual meeting to much applause.

Promis Neurosciences (PMN.TO), led by Dr. Cashman, has staked its strategy on the belief that precision medicine -which includes a diagnostic to identify a specific strain of misfolded Beta Amyloid in Alzheimer's and the corresponding therapeutic- has the most potential for treating patients with AD.

This is where ProMISTM Neurosciences with its proprietary ProMISTM technology has a big opportunity. ProMISTM is a statistical thermodynamic algorithm that predicts how proteins degenerate into their diseased (misfolded) forms and thereby provides a model of all the potential target regions of the protein (i.e. epitopes) against which an antibody can be designed and produced. This approach would allow to develop a specific therapeutic antibody and its related companion diagnostic, i.e. a precision medicine solution. 

The ProMISTM technology works and has been validated previously on many cancer types and neurodegenerative diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Of course, ProMISTM is not the only method of identifying epitopes, and the race to find such AD epitopes is very competitive and includes many pharma companies with formidable resources at their disposal. ProMISTM does however appear to have the advantage of being a theoretical and rational approach to epitope identification while almost all other approaches are more trial-and-error/hit-or-miss. 

Of interest: Promis Neurosciences Investment Thesis

This post was written by Michael Bigger in collaboration with Dr. Greg Kenausis. Kenausis' contribution is highlighted by using italics. 

Disclaimer: Bigger Capital and related entities are long 14.3MM shares of PMN. ProMIS is in a re-launch mode and it is not suitable for the majority of investors. The likely outcome of an investment is a loss of principal. Take our opinions with a grain of salt. If you find yourself relying on our views to make an investment decision it means you definitely did not do your homework about this situation. Please do not rely on our views, instead use the information as a jumping off point to begin your own independent due diligence.

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Reader Comments (2)

Is this confirmed by the company?

October 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStock

Confirmed by someone who attended.

October 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Bigger

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