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Patent granted for Alzheimer’s chemical to Leeds Beckett biomedical researcher

Date published: 21/12/17

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A patent application for a chemical for use in Alzheimer’s research has been granted to Translate secondee at Leeds Beckett University.

Dr Nat Milton, part of the Biomedical Sciences team in the School of Clinical and Applied Sciences at Leeds Beckett, has had an application approved for his work around Kissorphin peptides that target Amyloid fibril-forming peptides for use in detecting, preventing and therapy of diseases including Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Nat has an international reputation in the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery research field and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.  For the past 20 years he has led the Amyloid-Binding Peptides research group, which conducts research into the biochemical interactions of amyloid peptides and their role in a number of diseases. He has used molecular biology, biochemical and cell biology techniques to discover and characterise the mechanisms of neuroprotection of a number of compounds.

Amyloid fibrils are implicated in many disorders and the group has focused on the identification and characterisation of endogenous anti-amyloid compounds.

Speaking about the patent and his work, Nat explained: “Our research has identified a number of amyloid-binding compounds including the R9 peptide, kisspeptin and kissorphin.  We have shown that peptides derived from human Kisspeptin-54 have binding affinity to Amyloid-ß and related proteins.  Therefore, we know that these peptides are useful therapeutics in the treatment of a number of conditions and can act to prevent fibril formation and this is what our patent relates to.”

Kisspeptin and kissorphin are products of the KiSS-1 gene that have been shown to play a role in regulating normal reproductive function in both men and women.  The levels change dramatically following menopause and andropause, which also coincides with the presumed onset of Alzheimer’s.  In a recent study kisspeptin and kissorphin peptides have been found in the Alzheimer’s brain associated with the amyloid plaques that are thought to play a pathological role in the disease.

It is hoped that the methods covered by the patent can be used in the development of specific assays that can be used in Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Type 2 diabetes.  Recent publications by other groups have confirmed the Leeds Beckett published findings that kissorphin has anti-opioid activity and also that kisspeptin is neuroprotective in models of Alzheimer’s disease.  The studies that have been carried out as part of the work to obtain the patent should enable researchers to gain a better understanding of the role of kisspeptin and kissorphin peptides Alzheimer’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and Type 2 diabetes.