Alzheimer’s disease remains difficult to diagnose quantitatively and even more difficult to treat – today’s best treatments barely slow down the progression of symptoms. Clarimedix, a company out of Boulder, Colorado has taken an alternative approach to the traditional “plaques and tangles” theory and is focusing on the effect of light as a biomodulator and the idea that this cognitive syndrome may be the result of problems with perfusion to the brain.
The idea is that a light, emitted from a patch placed on the skin over the carotid artery, helps to modulate the release of nitric oxide, which is capable of increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation and triggering gene expression changes in the brain. This type of treatment would have many advantages over typical pharmacotherapy, especially the non-invasive, locally-delivered nature of the device. The company is hyping a breakthrough pre-clinical study that it will be releasing soon, but until then it remains on the list of ideas that seem like it could work – we eagerly await some hard numbers to validate this idea.
“We will describe how our technology is paving the way for what we believe will make Alzheimer’s a controllable and treatable disease,” says John Dunning, CEO and president of Clarimedix. “This has the potential to revolutionize Alzheimer’s treatment options for patients and families.”
From Clarimedix’ technology page:
The Clarimedix technology was developed utilizing a ground breaking discovery made in 2006. At that time, Dr. Robert Poyton, a University of Colorado researcher, discovered for the first time that nitric oxide (NO) was produced from mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase under certain oxygen conditions (The Cco/NO receptor; Castello et al. 2006; Castello et al. 2008).
The Cco/NO receptor is an endogenous, intracellular, light-sensitive mitochondrial receptor that is un-related to the better-known NOS system. Clarimedix, working with Dr. Poyton and the University of Colorado then demonstrated that light of an appropriate wavelength, intensity and duration can be used to control the Cco/NO receptor – stimulating it, or inhibiting it at will. For the application of Alzheimer’s disease, by delivering light over the neck the technology can non-invasively trigger targeted, localized and controllable production of NO which has the potential to increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and improve memory in patients.