Major medical publications including CELL and Translational Research among others have highlighted the involvement and sinister role of a protein called extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (eNAMPT) present in SARS-CoV-2 infections.
In a comprehensive report published in the high impact journal CELL, of over 5,000 proteins identified as perturbed in COVID-19 patients who did not survive their illness compared to controls, NAMPT expression was linked to life-threatening multi-organ injuries via participation in multiple inflammatory signaling pathways.
These findings are in synchrony with another recent publication in the journal TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH which highlighted the role of eNAMPT as a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) and a master regulator of systemic inflammation, including patients with COVID-19 infection. Additional recent publications support the scientific thesis that eNAMPT is highly expressed in vital organs of patients who have succumbed to COVID-19-induced Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, especially those with comorbidities such as diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
The recent flurry of publications in CELL and Translational Research among others, provide enhanced rationale for targeting eNAMPT, especially for patients with severe COVID-19 induced ARDS, has prompted researchers to look into treatment that thwarts the devasting effects of the protein. One company is Tucson-based Aqualung Therapeutics.
The company has published compelling human and preclinical studies highlighting eNAMPT as a viable inflammatory target, and whose neutralization dramatically attenuates harmful inflammatory responses in ARDS/ventilator-induced lung injury as well as other unmet inflammatory conditions.
“Aqualung has been laser-focused on pursuing treatments for the unremitting inflammation associated with ARDS and ventilator-induced lung injury and have successfully identified eNAMPT as a highly-druggable target in ARDS, as it is a master regulator of highly harmful inflammatory protein pathways. We are fortunate to have made tremendous progress in developing a therapeutic drug to neutralize eNAMPT and dampen lung and systemic inflammation.” states Joe GN Garcia MD, CEO and founder of Aqualung Therapeutics.
Aqualung continues to advance their lead therapeutic ALT-100, and hopes to conduct studies using their drug in clinical trials soon.