Gliatech Inc., which is focusing on therapeutics targeting the nervoussystem, said animal studies of a compound that boosts levels ofhistamine in the brain indicate the drug may be effective as astimulant to combat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder.
If the drug proves successful in clinical trials, Gliatech's researcherssaid it also has the potential to be used as a mild stimulant, providingthe same kind of kick coffee drinkers get from caffeine without theside effects.
Thomas Oesterling, Gliatech's president and CEO, said researcherstested the compound in rats, comparing its stimulating effects withmethamphetamines. Rats injected with the Gliatech drug stayedawake longer than those fed amphetamines and they experiencednone of the side effects of the chemical stimulants, such as freneticbody movements.
Oesterling said the compound, GT-2016, acts as an antagonist to thehistamine H3 receptor, which controls levels of histamine in thebrain. Histamine, he said, is associated with wakefulness andalertness. The compound targets the H3 receptor in an attempt toboost release of histamine from neurons.
Gliatech's researchers presented results of the animal studies at theSociety of Neuroscience's annual meeting in Miami recently. Thefindings included data also showing that when the drug wasdelivered orally it effectively penetrated the blood-brain barrier ofthe animals.
Oesterling said Gliatech expects to target narcolepsy and attentiondeficit disorders in clinical trials, which could begin in a year.
Gliatech, founded in 1988, is a privately held company in Cleveland.It also is conducting preclinical testing with GT-2016 for treatmentof dementia, such as that found in patients with Alzheimer's disease._ Charles Craig
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