An exciting new drug developed by researchers at Stanford and the University of California, San Francisco, is expected to provide a breakthrough in understanding how the brain processes images.
The drug, called rasugrel, works by modifying an enzyme called rheostatin, which helps make the brain’s neurons more responsive to light.
In humans, the rheustin enzyme also plays a role in learning and memory.
“It’s a big step forward in understanding the brain,” said Robert Stauffer, an assistant professor of neurology at Stanford School of Medicine and a co-author of the study.
The new drug, rasagrel, also uses a protein called RBC2 to increase the activity of a gene called the transcription factor CREB.
The gene, which is found on every cell of the human body, regulates how cells form, communicate, and grow.
“We’re basically trying to change the way the brain works by changing CREB,” Staufer said.
“In the past, we have thought the CREB pathway is responsible for some of the functions of the brain.
But the real question is, what’s going on in the brain that’s changing the function of CREB?
We’re beginning to see how that may be.”
Rasagrerel was developed by Stauffers colleagues at Stanford, the University and the National Institutes of Health.
It is an investigational drug that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and has not been tested in humans.
Stauffer and his colleagues are developing the drug as a drug candidate in the hope that it may help patients with a variety of disorders.
“We’re hoping this will help patients that are suffering from many diseases, but also people with a lot of other things going on,” he said.
“This is a really exciting study that we are doing because it gives us a glimpse of how the body does this.
There are many different functions of CREBs in the body, and the discovery that this protein is critical for brain function has a lot to do with that.”
The research team has published its results in the journal Neurochemistry.
They also recently published a study in the same journal in which they found rasagarrol showed a significant increase in brain activity.
The researchers also found the drug worked well in animal models of epilepsy.
St. Louis University’s David V. Sussman and other Stanford researchers are also working on another new drug that targets CREB, called CNR2.
Sudden onset seizures are caused by a mutation in the gene called CNT1, which makes it more susceptible to a chemical called NMDA, a type of neurotransmitter.
It has been known for some time that the mutation could cause sudden and severe seizures.
Sussman said the drug could be used to treat a variety and types of seizures, and also to treat some forms of brain trauma.
“If it can work in a seizure model, we might be able to get a better understanding of what is causing it,” Sussmann said.
Scientists also are developing a drug that blocks CREB and rasabrel, called TAC2, which also appears to work well in mice.