Our lab is focused on the development of novel peptides to inhibit this inflammatory cascade and improve brain blood flow. These peptides are designed to significantly improve serum half-life and penetrate the blood-brain-barrier. These peptides act to inhibit the inflammatory pathways at both the level of brain blood vessels and the brain itself.

Substantial evidence links increases in systemic inflammation to impaired cognitive function.  Studies in patients have shown that increases in inflammatory factors such as IL-1alpha and IL-6 following surgery are strongly correlated with decreased cognitive performance.    Inflammation has significant effects on hippocampal function, a region of the brain known to be critical for learning and memory.  This inflammatory cascade is thought to result from cytokine activity on both endothelial cells of the brain microvasculature as well as within the brain parenchyma affecting microglia, astrocytes and neurons, the entire “neurovascular unit.”  Increased ROS production and circulating cytokine levels, and activation of brain inflammatory pathways contribute to neuronal dysfunction, to cognitive impairment and to memory loss.

Cognitive impairment and memory loss caused by decreased brain blood flow, decreased brain oxygenation and brain inflammation are serious problems often resulting from treatments for other medical conditions such as heart disease, major invasive surgery and vascular dementia.  In addition, scientific studies have linked early Alzheimer’s to inflammation in the brain. There are currently no effective treatments for inflammation related brain disease and memory loss.