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Emerging Startup

Autophagy Enhancers for the Treatment of Neurodegeneration

An emerging startup from Junying Yuan's lab intends to develop three classes of small molecules for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. (Image credit: iStock.)

There are currently no disease-modifying treatments available for neurodegenerative diseases, devastating conditions that affect millions of people worldwide and place a tremendous burden on the healthcare system. Recent insights into the biology of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s provide an opportunity to develop drugs that intervene in key pathological processes, including the accumulation of misfolded proteins and cell death. Most pharmacological approaches up until now have focused on a single pathway involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Junying Yuan's lab, with support from the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, has developed a multiplex cell-based screen to identify small molecules that both stimulate the clearance of aggregated proteins and prevent cell death. A startup emerging from her lab intends to develop three classes of small molecules that have been discovered by the screen for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

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