Université Laval and Roche recently signed a collaborative research agreement to test promising compounds for several disorders of the brain, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Thanks to this joint initiative, Yves De Koninck and his team will be able to pursue the development of the many scientific discoveries and advances they have made in the last 10 years. The joint research program will focus on evaluating the potential of various molecules affecting the activity of a protein called KCC2 normally present in neurons of the brain and spinal cord. Dr. De Koninck’s recent work, published in major scientific journals, has established a very clear link between neurocircuitry defects and insufficient levels of KCC2 in nerve cells.
“Based on our analyses to date, we are very optimistic about the potential of the molecules we will be testing in collaboration with Roche,” said Dr. De Koninck. “The main advantage of a drug affecting the regulation of the KCC2 protein is that it would allow ill nerve cells to function normally again without affecting healthy cells, thus minimizing the risk of side effects,” the researcher explained.