PODS-GDNF for Parkinson's Therapy


Cell Guidance Systems and King’s College London Deploy Armoured Growth Factors in the Fight against Parkinson’s Disease

The leading regenerative medicine company partners with London researchers to harness the therapeutic potential of growth factors.

Cambridge, England 5th March 2019

Parkinson’s is an incurable progressive disease associated with loss of dopaminergic neurons. These few but important cells, found in a small area deep within the brain, are critical to the normal functioning of the nervous system. Preventing further loss of dopaminergic neurons is key to preventing the development of Parkinson’s disease. Many growth factors are known to help cells to survive, and that’s why growth factor therapy could provide a breakthrough in treating Parkinson’s disease patients. However, growth factor instability has undermined this therapeutic potential.

To address the problem of instability, Cell Guidance Systems is developing PODS®, a technology which stabilizes growth factors within a microcrystal lattice for effective therapeutic protein delivery. Together with Dr Susan Duty from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, the company has received funding from Innovate UK for a £270k project that will assess the potential of PODS® growth factors to treat Parkinson’s Disease. This pilot project will commence in March and is expected to last for 18 months.

Dr Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems, commented “Parkinson’s disease affects 1% of adults over 55 and has a devastating impact on their quality of life. Experimental evidence from numerous labs has shown that certain growth factors can slow down, or even reverse the loss of dopaminergic neurons seen in the disease. However, translating this knowledge into an effective drug that combats the disease has been a challenge. By “armour plating” growth factors in a crystal lattice using PODS® technology, we’re significantly increasing the period of time they remain active, maximizing the chance of success”. Dr Susan Duty anticipates “this novel technology will allow my team to deliver growth factors to the brain regions affected in Parkinson’s disease more efficiently than ever before”.