Cambridge Neuroscience Inc. on Thursday said it has won a$50,000 small business innovation research grant from theNational Institutes of Health to identify new blockers ofcalcium channels that will work selectively in nerve tissue.

The Cambridge, Mass., company (NASDAQ:CNSI) will use itsproprietary assays to detect binding and action of novelcalcium channel blockers that could ameliorate brain damagecaused by loss of blood supply to the brain. Patents on someblockers have already been filed, Elkan Gamzu, companypresident, told BioWorld.

Gamzu said existing calcium channel blockers work widely, yetsome do not enter the brain at all. Selective brain blockerscould prevent damage from stroke and head injury, with amarket size of 500,000 U.S. cases a year each.

Selective brain calcium blockers might also protect against thebrain ischemia that can complicate coronary bypass surgery. Nodrugs are available to limit or reduce the neurological damagethat can result from inadequate blood flow or clots delivered tothe brain during surgery, according to the company.

Its stock closed unchanged at $9.50 on Thursday. -- RF

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.