VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:VTGN) has announced nonclinical studies data that shows that their AV-101 CNS drug candidate has the capability of stimulating hippocampal neurogenesis. The process allows the formation of new neurons in the brain region involving high-level functioning such as memory, emotions as well as exploration and spatial navigation
Stimulation of hippocampal neurogenesis
Shawn Singh, the Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen, stated that the development of new neurons is essential in mental growth in adulthood and therefore the results from their nonclinical studies on AV-101 are very exciting as they demonstrated the potential of promoting hippocampal neurogenesis in adults. He added that the company believes that the data from the studies can be far-reaching because enhanced hippocampal cell regeneration offers protection from stress-related psychiatric conditions such as depression.
The nonclinical studies
Professor Robert Schwarcz of the University of Maryland and Professor Gloria Hoffman of the Morgan State University carried out the nonclinical studies in rodents that exhibited enhanced neurogenesis in the hippocampal region of the brain following daily oral dosing of AV-101 for two weeks.
The detection of an increased cell number having Ki67 in the region demonstrated that neurogenesis had occurred. Ki67 is a marker scored by scientists of dividing cells into the treatment groups. The results obtained are consistent with recent outcomes that showed sustaining of therapeutic activity of new generation antidepressants like Ketamine depends on neurogenic effects.
AV-101 which is among the CNS pipeline candidates that VistaGen is producing has demonstrated that it has the potential of providing rapid therapeutic benefits without and adverse psychological effects. Equally, there are no safety concerns associated with this new generation CNS medication for disorders such as social anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder
AV-101 is currently under the second phase of development as an adjunctive treatment for major depressive disorder. The company will do a detailed presentation of the results of the nonclinical studies in the upcoming psychiatry conference.
The drug candidate already has been granted Fast Track Designation by the FDA for development as a potential adjunctive MDD treatment as well as a non-opioid neuropathic pain treatment.