Dr. George S. Robertson, Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, has teamed up with a Saskatoon-based R&D firm to develop and test a promising new approach to protecting the brain from injury. With support from a $30,000 Brain Repair Centre Knowledge Translation Grant, Dr. Robertson and his collaborators at Phenomenome Discoveries Incorporated have created a new combination of lipids and flavonoids which is now being tested in Halifax.

“Our ultimate goal is to develop a product that can protect the brain from age-related damage and other insults that compromise brain function over time,” notes Dr. Robertson. “We’re starting by testing the new compounds in pre-clinical models of cisplatin-induced hearing loss, because the prevention of cisplatin-induced hearing loss is a hard clinical endpoint that is less complex to measure than cognitive changes.”

Cisplatin is a chemotherapy drug with neurotoxic effects that can cause hearing loss and other neurological problems after cancer treatment. In 2013, Dr. Robertson received a BRC KT Grant to test the effectiveness of Equepa, a compound developed in his lab at the BRC, against cisplatin-induced hearing loss.

“We found that Equepa provided significant protection against this hearing loss, but felt there was still room for improvement,” Dr. Robertson says. “When I met the president of Phenomenome at a conference, we decided to combine our products to increase the neuroprotective effects of Equepa.”

Equepa is a natural product that combines flavonoids and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid, a lipid usually derived from fish oil). Phenomenome’s product, on the other hand, is a naturally occurring precursor that replenishes a class of lipids known to be deficient in those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.

“We felt our products together would make an ideal neuroprotective combination,” says Dr. Robertson, who is supervising PhD candidate Matthew Nichols to conduct the tests in his lab. “Phenomenome’s goal is to develop and commercialize products for the treatment of neurological diseases, so it’s a perfect fit with our goals and those of the BRC.”

Wednesday the 23rd. © 2018. All rights reserved.. Bridgewater Media Services