Our impact: Last year, we became the first group in the world to develop a selective eNMDAR antagonist (Savchenko et al., Nano Letters, 2016). Using a nanotechnology approach and exploiting spatial differences in NMDAR subcellular locations, we engineered a novel, rationally-designed NMDAR antagonist with exclusive selectivity toward eNMDARs. We demonstrated exceptional neuroprotective properties of our eNMDAR antagonist during NMDAR-mediated neurotoxic insults both in vitro and ex vivo.
Our goal: We are planning to develop and validate a family of first-in-class drugs that will target excitotoxicity-mediated neurodegeneration by inhibiting eNMDARs. This pathological mechanism is well understood, which is critical for successful development of rationally designed drugs to combat excitotoxicity.
Such neuroprotective drugs have a potential to slow and possible reverse the course of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s’ disease (AD), Huntington’s disease (HD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), among many others. The economic and is expected to be in billions of dollars yearly societal impact and higher quality of life of patients and caregivers.