Q Therapeutics is uniquely focused on a glial cell therapeutic approach to treating neurodegenerative diseases and damage to the brain
Regardless of the underlying cause, mechanism or pathways involved, what most CNS injuries and diseases have in common is the degeneration, and even death, of neurons. Part of the body’s natural response to CNS injury and disease is to increase the number of glial cells in order to support and promote normal neuron health. However, the body’s ability to produce glial cells is limited, and the resulting increase may not be sufficient to repair the damage. Furthermore, in some neurodegenerative diseases, the body's own glial cells are diseased.
Our technology is targeted at increasing the number of healthy glial cells available in the brain and spine to support, maintain or even restore normal neuron function and health. Positioned to revolutionize the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, our first cellular therapeutic product – Q-Cells® – provides a healthy population of glia to sites of CNS injury or disease, where these highly potent, highly purified cells perform the neuron repair functions for which they have evolved.
What are Glial Cells?
Although the neuron is the brain cell that people are most familiar with, the brain is also made up of approximately 85 billion glial cells (glia). Glia are the unsung heroes that provide essential support and repair functions and even outnumber neurons in many regions of the brain. Without healthy glial cells, neurons degenerate and may even die.
The most common types of glial cells in the brain are:
- Astrocytes – Specialized cells that protect neurons by producing growth factors, removing toxins, protecting against damage, modulating the body's immune response and providing structural support.
- Oligodendrocytes – Specialized cells that insulate neurons by producing myelin, the fatty insulation required for normal nerve transmission.
How Do Glial Cells Develop?
Both astrocytes and oligodendrocytes arise from glial progenitor cells, which are early descendants of neural stem cells.
Benefits of a Glial Progenitor Cell Approach to Treating CNS Diseases
There are two primary cellular therapeutic approaches to treating CNS disease – a neuronal approach and a glial approach.
Unlike neurons, glial progenitor cells have the power to:
- Replicate and Multiply following injection into the brain or spine
- Migrate, or move, to sites of injury or disease in the brain or spine
- Differentiate into two specialized cell types – astrocytes and oligodendrocytes – that are essential for normal function of nerve cells in the brain and spine
- Augment the body’s natural protective response to nerve cell injury
In addition, neurons grow very slowly and require the formation of many new and complex connections to function properly. This may not be realistic for the timeline of many progressive CNS diseases.
Our glial progenitor cell approach focuses on rescuing diseased or damaged neurons by supplementing the central nervous system with a healthy population of glia, which provide the full complement of support and repair functions necessary for a healthy nervous system.