SENS & Underdog awarded $252,000 NIA research grant

SENS Research Foundation and Underdog Pharmaceuticals jointly awarded $252,000 NIA grant to eradicate atherosclerosis.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded a grant to advance research on Engineered Cyclodextrins targeting toxic oxidised cholesterol to eradicate atherosclerosis — the cause of most heart attacks and strokes.

Former SRF VP of Research and current Underdog Co-founder Matthew O’Connor, PhD and current SRF VP of Research Alexandra Stolzing, PhD, are the Principal Investigators.

Longevity.Technology: Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes are by far the world’s most life-threatening conditions, accounting for up to 40% of deaths in Europe and the US and with annual treatment costing more than £29 billion in the UK alone. The primary cause of these diseases and events is atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque in the arterial walls.

Plaque forms when cholesterol lodges in the wall of the artery. Cholesterol comes from the liver – which is able to make all the cholesterol you need – and the food consumed by the body. Too much cholestorol and it builds up, sticking to artery walls and causing trouble. The body deploys white blood cells to alleviate the deposits, but they actually end up becoming foamy cells that causing more inflammation. Underdog’s engineered synthetic carbohydrate compounds are designed to target and remove toxic oxidised cholesterol, a key driver of arterial plaque accumulation.

Underdog Pharmaceuticals’ research has combined computational and synthetic chemistry programs to custom-engineer cyclodextrins to capture, and remove from cells, oxidised cholesterol derivatives such as 7-ketocholesterol. Their technology removes the arterial plaque by clearing the non-degradable cholesterol that accumulates within cells in the arterial walls.

The grant also supports exploring the use of Underdog’s technology to target oxidised cholesterol in the Alzheimer’s disease brain.

Their long-term goal is to deliver a simple and affordable preventive therapy for the world.

The novel therapeutic approach was born from one of SRF’s flagship research programmes designed to understand and repair the underlying causes of cardiovascular disease. In a press release, SENS Research Foundation and Underdog Pharmaceuticals said both organisations are very proud to receive this important peer-reviewed NIH grant.

“We are excited about how this collaboration will contribute to the advancement of our mission to develop, promote, and ensure widespread access to therapies that cure and prevent the diseases and disabilities of aging [1].”


Photograph: Underdog Pharmaceuticals