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Feb 5, 2007

Maas Biolab Joins Efforts to Develop Brain-Protecting Drug Against Nerve Agents

  • The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) awarded $117,000 to Maas Biolab for the continued investigation of the neuroprotective properties of cyclosporin in models of chemical warfare agent exposure. The funding will aid the study of the brain penetration of cyclosporin and its effectiveness in protecting and prolonging the survival of mitochondria within brain tissue that has been exposed to nerve agents.

    The DTRA Extramural Program funding will complement an ongoing intramural cyclosporin neuroprotection research effort at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR). The WRAIR research demonstrated improved neurological outcomes in animals treated with cyclosporin following traumatic brain injury or exposure to organophosphate nerve agents.

    "The DTRA award will be instrumental to our research effort with WRAIR and will augment the development of the first brain-protecting treatment for soldiers and civilians exposed to nerve agents," says Eskil Elmer, M.D., Ph.D., principal investigator and CSO at Maas Biolab.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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