Alzheimer’s is a complex neurodegenerative disease that is a Protein Misfolding Disease (PMD) that is believed to account for 60% to 70% of dementia. PMD is recognized in other chronic conditions like Parkinson’s, cataracts, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease and others. Alzheimer’s starts 20 to 30 years before many of the more severe neurodegenerative symptoms like dementia manifest.
Broadly, there are two classifications of Alzheimer’s: Early Onset (EOAD), and sporadic Alzheimer’s.
- About 1 to 5% of all Alzheimer’s cases are considered early onset Alzheimer’s (eFAD, EOAD). It is determined by a defect to chromosome 14.
- The remaining 95% of cases would be known as Sporadic Alzheimer’s and is not linked to genetics.
- Some of the prevalent theories for the etiology of Alzheimer’s that are currently pursued by scientists are: a) Aβ amyloid cascade hypothesis, b) Tau protein hyperphosphorylation, and c) mitochondria cascade hypothesis, among others.
Dementia was routinely associated with old age, however in 1907 a histopathological study (study of tissue) by the German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer first reported plaques and tangles in the brain of a patient suffering from dementia, which led to the diagnosis of a disease named after the German psychiatrist. The hallmark characteristics of Alzheimer’s are:
- Amyloid-rich senile plaques (plaques)
- Neurofibrillary tangles (tangles)
- Neuronal degeneration
Impact of Alzheimer’s
In 2017 Medicare and Medicaid alone are expected to spend over $200 billion on people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The cost of Alzheimer’s has increased significantly and is expected to continue to surge higher. The number of people is predicted to double over the next 20 years and the direct costs are projected to reach $1 trillion per year. There is still no accepted cure for this horrific disease.
Important statistics on Alzheimer’s include the following:
- Alzheimer’s affects about 44 million individuals worldwide and about 5.3 million in the U.S.
- About 66% of Alzheimer’s patients are women.
- There is a 50% chance of getting Alzheimer’s after age 80.
Hyalolex and Our Patent Filing
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) the psychoactive compound in cannabis has several known molecular targets by which it regulates the physiology and bodily functions by interacting with various biochemical pathways, including binding to the CB1 receptor, anti-oxidative effects, mitochondrial function among others.
In our patent filing we claim the discovery of a new pathway: at certain doses THC the primary psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, in combination with another molecule, bind to amyloid beta monomers and prevent them from aggregating into plaques. Essentially, they make Aβ monomers less sticky. Amyloid rich plaques that appear as extracellular deposits in the brains of patents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are thought to be toxic to neurons.
The combination of THC and another molecule is bundled as Hyalolex.
Mono-therapy for Alzheimer’s patients has been found to be less effective in addressing many of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s. Combination therapy on the other hand has been found to be more effective in addressing symptoms and has also been shown to provide a wider range of beneficial effects on Alzheimer’s patients. Hyalolex targets plaques and tangles as well as targeting pathways that help alleviate neuropsychiatric behavioral symptoms.
The findings go much deeper. For example, they have been shown to restore short-term memory in vivo, reduce hyperphosphorylation of tau protein in vitro, clinically shown to reduce Alzheimer’s related anxiety, sleep disorder, and other symptoms. For more information please see Hyalolex.
If the patent is granted, we will own a significant therapeutic pathway by which THC in combination with another molecule interacts with the human body. We believe the pathway has enormous potential in treating Alzheimer’s disease and its end points.