NEW YORK, April 7, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Anavex Life Sciences Corp. ("Anavex" or the "Company") (OTCQX:AVXL) is encouraged by the findings of a new report in the latest issue of peer-reviewed scientific journal Neuroscience Letters. The study demonstrates for the first time through real-time in vivo imaging how microglial inflammation, which is involved in devastating neurodegenerative diseases, can be resolved by sigma-1 receptor activation. The role of sigma-1 receptor activation is to reduce the negative response caused by chronic microglia over-activation, which leads to widespread cell death and multiple neurodegenerative diseases, from brain injury to Alzheimer's disease.
Microglia are the immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS). When a person suffers a brain injury, the microglia move towards and clear the damaged area by engulfing dying neurons. However, in the context of many neurological disorders, chronic microglial responses are exaggerated and responsible for neurodegeneration. The study concludes that the sigma-1 receptor efficiently "switches off" this damaging chronic microglial reaction. Additionally, the action of the sigma-1 receptor on microglia was found to be specific to damage responses as the response did not affect the normal microglia activity within the brain.
"These findings are very encouraging and appear to further confirm the therapeutic potential of our sigma-1 receptor agonists, including ANAVEX 2-73, which is currently in a Phase 2a clinical study in Alzheimer's disease," said Christopher U. Missling, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Anavex. "Thus, increasing sigma-1 receptor activity through agonists could reduce the devastating impact of neuroinflammation and exaggerated microglial response in the context of many neurodegenerative diseases. These findings point to a clear role for the sigma-1 receptor in modulating microglial responses to damage. We are pleased to see the potential for our sigma-1 agonist drug therapeutics to prevent chronic inflammation in the pathology of Alzheimer's and also in other CNS diseases."
The report, entitled "Live imaging reveals a new role for the sigma-1 (σ1) receptor in allowing microglia to leave brain injuries," was authored by C. Moritz, F. Berardi, C. Abate and F. Peri from EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany and Dipartimento di Farmacia in Bari, Italy. The full paper is available on the Anavex website at http://www.anavex.com/publications/.
About Anavex Life Sciences Corp.
Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (OTCQX:AVXL) is a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of novel drug candidates to treat central nervous system (CNS) diseases, pain and various types of cancer. The Company's lead drug candidates, ANAVEX 2-73 and ANAVEX PLUS, the combination of ANAVEX 2-73 and donepezil (Aricept®), are currently being evaluated in a Phase 2a clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease. ANAVEX 2-73 is an orally available drug candidate that targets sigma-1 and muscarinic receptors and has successfully completed a Phase 1 study with a clean data profile. Preclinical studies demonstrate its potential to halt and/or reverse the course of Alzheimer's disease. The drug combination, ANAVEX PLUS, produced up to 80% greater reversal of memory loss in Alzheimer's disease models versus when the drugs were used individually. Recent positive preclinical data indicates that ANAVEX 2-73 also exhibits anticonvulsant, anti-amnesic, neuroprotective and anti-depressant properties, indicating its potential to treat additional CNS disorders, including epilepsy and others. Further information is available at www.anavex.com.
Statements in this press release that are not strictly historical in nature are forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions based on current information and expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in any of such statements due to various factors, including the risks set forth in the Company's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Anavex Life Sciences Corp. undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.
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Source:Anavex Life Sciences Corp.