Microglia are immune cells that reside in the central nervous system; they are similar to macrophage cells in other tissues. They are typically quiescent, but support and protect neurons when activated by scavenging extracellular debris, including dead or dying cells, and bacteria and viruses. They can release cytotoxic substances like H2O2, or release cytokines to either directly kill bacteria or mount an immune response against them, but this can also injure neurons if uncontrolled. It is hypothesized that during and shortly after brain trauma, activated microglial cells contribute to the injury, and by limiting this response, damage can be reduced.
Sudarshan Hebbar, Senior Vice President, Clinical Development at CalciMedica, said, "Our collaboration with Dr. Yenari has been very gratifying, as she is an expert in neuroinflammation, an area in which we think CRAC channel inhibitors may have a role to play. She is also an accomplished translational researcher, which is important as we think about next steps." Ken Stauderman, Senior Vice President, Research at CalciMedica, added, "We hope to look at the effects of these compounds in both acute and chronic neuroinflammation, which are components of many serious neurological disorders and diseases, first in animals and then potentially in patients."
About CRAC channels and Orai
CRAC channels, comprising Orai and regulatory STIM proteins, function to maintain proper levels of calcium in most non-excitable cells. In immune cells, particularly T cells, calcium is an important intracellular signaling molecule that controls cytokine production and the immune response. In T cells CRAC channels are the primary means by which intracellular calcium levels are modulated. In addition, aberrant activation of CRAC channels in pancreatic acinar cells is thought to play a key role in the pathobiology of acute pancreatitis.
About CalciMedica, Inc.
CalciMedica is the leading biopharmaceutical company focused on CRAC channel drug discovery and development, seeking novel drugs for the treatment of acute or chronic diseases in which inflammation plays a role. For example, CRAC channels control calcium entry that is essential for the adaptive immune response, and this pathway has been clinically validated as an important drug target in humans through the use of calcineurin inhibitors that act downstream from CRAC channels. For more information, please visit the company website at www.calcimedica.com.
About the University of California, San Francisco
UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises top-ranked hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland - and other partner and affiliated hospitals and healthcare providers throughout the Bay Area.
About the San Francisco VA Medical Center
SFVAMC has one of the largest medical research programs in the national VA system, with more than 200 research scientists, all of whom are faculty members at University of California, San Francisco.
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SOURCE CalciMedica, Inc.