Synpromics Ltd has announced a new collaboration with University College London (UCL) to generate a range of synthetic gene promoters for the central nervous system to develop a gene therapy for Parkinson’s.

Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. This technique may allow clinicians to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery. Researchers are testing several approaches to gene therapy, including:

Replacing a mutated gene that causes disease with a healthy copy of the gene.

Inactivating, or “knocking out,” a mutated gene that is functioning improperly.

Introducing a new gene into the body to help fight a disease.

Although gene therapy is a promising treatment option for a number of diseases including Parkinson's, the technique  is still under study to make sure that it will be safe and effective. Gene therapy is currently being tested only for diseases that have no other cures.

Synpromics works with leading clinicians focused on trying to develop cures for genetic diseases with significant unmet need, enabled by its innovative gene control technology, to improve human health.

The joint project between Synpromics and UCL will see the company develop novel gene promoters that specifically control the expression of therapeutic genes in different sub-populations of neurons. In the first instance, UCL will use these new gene switches to develop a gene therapy-based approach for the treatment of Young-Onset Parkinson’s disease.

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Michael Roberts, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Synpromics stated: “Tightly controlling the therapeutic gene is an essential element in the development of any successful gene therapy and Synpromics’ technology offers the best means to achieve that control. This collaboration will allow the company to develop a gene therapy approach for a largely unmet clinical need, where tight gene control is an absolute requirement. It also gives us the opportunity to work with UCL, one of the few world-leading institutions actively developing novel gene-based therapies.”

The collaboration is expected to last over 24 months with work being split equally between the two partners.

“We are delighted to be working with the leaders in gene control, Synpromics Ltd, to develop gene therapy for Young-Onset Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s is the second most common untreatable progressive brain disease and novel therapeutic approaches are required. This collaboration allows us to develop tailor-made gene therapy vectors for untreatable brain disorders,” said Dr Simon Waddington (UCL Institute for Women's Health).

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