In January, Stevens, McCarroll and a team at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard published a paper showing that aberrant microglia can cause or contribute to massive cell loss leading to cognitive defects like schizophrenia.
But what does that mean for treatment? Could devastating conditions like Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s be halted by the targeted suppression of synapse proteins?
Barres founded a company called Annexon Biosciences to develop a drug that could block C1q. Last week, Barres, Stevens and their colleagues published a paper showing that the drug was able to prevent mice bred to develop Alzheimer’s from showing signs of the disease.
The company hopes to start human trials in the next two years. “We’re a ways away from a cure,” says Stevens. “But we definitely have a path forward.”