Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD) may result from deposition of A? as plaques in brain tissue. However, less effort has been made to elucidate the role of tau- containing neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) in AD. Accumulating evidence suggests that tau containing NFTs is an important component in the initiation and progression of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. In this proposal the tau pathway is targeted through inhibition of the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) as a promising new approach to affect the disease progression of AD. This proposal builds on the specific aims set forth and achieved under the STTR Phase I funding - a) to conduct structure-activity relationship studies to obtain brain permeable Hsp90 inhibitors and b) to evaluate biochemical and cellular Hsp90 inhibition. These efforts yielded novel, proprietary Hsp90 inhibitors with acceptable drug-like properties including good brain concentration. Since the conclusion of Phase I funding, Yuma Therapeutics has generated pharmacokinetic data in mice for an early lead compound, YT-17, further supporting its drug-like properties. The proposed studies for Phase II focus on a) evaluating our lead compound in an in vivo transgenic mouse model of tauopathy on the levels of total tau and phosphorylated-tau in cerebrospinal fluid, tau neuropathology, and behavioral outcomes;b) manufacturing scale-up of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of a lead candidate and initiate in vivo toxicology studies;and c) formulation work on the API.
This research is focused on identifying potential drug candidates to treat Alzheimer's disease (AD) and in this way it addresses NIA's priorities to support research on health and disease in the aged. Furthermore, this project targets the tau pathway as a promising new approach to affect the disease progression of AD.