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BGU’s Drug Combo Therapy Protects Blood-Brain Barrier

BGU’s Drug Combo Therapy Protects Blood-Brain Barrier

June 1, 2019

Medical Research, Press Releases

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev  Prof. Alon Friedman, M.D., Ph.D., and his research group have developed a new drug combination therapy that protects the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) and prevents development of various neurological diseases.

The proposed treatment is a combination therapy of two FDA approved drugs, Memantine and Losartan, which have been shown in preclinical studies to protect BBB integrity when administered together. Moreover, the research team has also developed an early diagnostic tool based on permeability analysis, enabling early treatment.

Prof. Alon Friedman

Currently, the ability to treat neurological diseases is limited, and is usually initiated only after symptoms are apparent and brain damage is substantial. However, Prof. Friedman, a neurosurgeon and member of BGU’s Inter-Faculty Brain Science School, discovered that treating the BBB in the early stages with this novel approach can protect the brain, prevent disease development and facilitate early diagnosis.

The BBB is a highly specialized interface that separates the circulating blood from the brain’s extracellular fluid in the central nervous system and only allows certain molecules to enter into the brain tissue. Disruption of the BBB plays an important role in cellular damage in neurological diseases including stroke, brain tumors and brain infections. BBB breakdown allows entry of neurotoxic blood products causing inflammatory response and major brain damage. As a result, the integrity of the BBB and the ability to repair damage are impaired.

“The role of the BBB in disease and aging is becoming better understood,” says Dr. Ora Horovitz, senior vice president of business development at BGN Technologies, BGU’s technology-transfer company. “This therapy is relevant for many central nervous system indications including stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, post-operative and post-radiation cognitive decline, age-related macular degeneration, migraines, and others. Moreover, both drugs are already approved for other indications with a validated activity.”

BGN is currently seeking partners for further development of this promising combination therapy.

About BGN Technologies

BGN Technologies is the technology-transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU). The company brings technological innovations from the lab to the market and fosters research collaborations and entrepreneurship among researchers and students. To date, BGN Technologies has established over 100 startup companies in the fields of biotech, high-tech and cleantech, as well as initiating leading technology hubs, incubators and accelerators. Over the past decade, it has focused on creating long-term partnerships with multinational corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, Dell-EMC, IBM, PayPal, Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center, Merck, Sigma, and Bayer, securing value and growth for BGU as well as for the Negev region. For more information, visit the BGN Technologies website.


By supporting a world-class academic institution that not only nurtures the Negev, but also shares its expertise locally and globally, Americans for Ben-Gurion University engages a community of Americans who are committed to improving the world. David Ben-Gurion envisioned that Israel’s future would be forged in the Negev. The cutting-edge research carried out at Ben-Gurion University drives that vision by sustaining a desert Silicon Valley, with the “Stanford of the Negev” at its center. The Americans for Ben-Gurion University movement supports a 21st century unifying vision for Israel by rallying around BGU’s remarkable work and role as an apolitical beacon of light in the Negev desert.

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev embraces the endless potential we have as individuals and as a commonality to adapt and to thrive in changing environments. Inspired by our location in the desert, we aim to discover, to create, and to develop solutions to dynamic challenges, to pose questions that have yet to be asked, and to push beyond the boundaries of the commonly accepted and possible.

We are proud to be a central force for inclusion, diversity and innovation in Israel, and we strive to extend the Negev’s potential and our entrepreneurial spirit throughout the world. For example, the multi-disciplinary School for Sustainability and Climate Change at BGU leverages over 50 years of expertise on living and thriving in the desert into scalable solutions for people everywhere.

BGU at a glance:  

20,000 students | 800 senior faculty | 3 campuses | 6 faculties: humanities & social sciences, health sciences, engineering sciences, natural sciences, business & management, and desert research.


Media Contact:

Brian Sherry

Stern Strategy Group


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