La Jolla-based company INmune Bio is currently enrolling patients in clinical trials for a new drug that targets neuroinflammation as the root cause of Alzheimer's rather than just a symptom. CFO David Moss said the immunology company focuses on the innate immune system, which is often overshadowed by the adaptive immune system.
The innate immune system is the body’s first line of defense and responds with the same physical, chemical and cellular defensives against any bacteria and viruses. The adaptive system on the other hand, responds specifically to the bacteria or virus.
"Almost the supermajority, the vast majority, probably greater than 90 percent of immunotherapy drugs, are all focused on the adaptive side," Moss said. "We think that bringing the innate immune system to the battle is really critical."
Two of the battles currently being fought by INmune Bio are those against cancer and Alzheimer's.
"The average age of humans, if you go back 300 years or 500 years, was really in our 20s, maybe early 30s," he said. "Obviously, with drugs, antibiotics, and clean food and water, we've been able to live a lot longer."
By as early as our mid-30s, our brains start to become what Moss calls dysfunctional, and one of the symptoms of that dysfunction is chronic inflammation or "inflam-aging." Our immune systems begin to go awry, potentially causing neuroinflammation. That leads to neuronal cell death in the brain, which can then cause Alzheimer's.
"Alzheimer's has been looked at as a neurologic disease. So the past trials — which haven't had a lot of success — have been neurologic trials. We look at this immunologic problem."
INmune Bio’s goal, according to Moss, is to "tap down neuroinflammation or chronic inflammation in the brain and in the body."
"If you do that, you stop activating microglial cells, which is the innate immune system, and that's what causes this neuronal cell death. Our goal is to slow down or stop that neuronal cell death."
Microglial cells remove damaged neurons and infections that make their way into the central nervous system.
INmune Bio recently received a $1 million grant from the Alzheimer's Association to help pay for a clinical trial on the drug XPro1595. Patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's will be put on the drug and then tested for signs of reduced inflammation, which can be done through a simple blood test or an MRI.
"Aging is just one thing you can't stop obviously," Moss said. "We talk about diet, smoking, drinking, all these things just really accelerate or exacerbate inflammation. So chronic inflammation is really a disease and these are just drugs to help knock it down."
For more information about INmune Bio, visit inmunebio.com.