Sales-Link Interviews Bruce Trapp, PhD, Founder, Chairman of SAB, and Chief Scientific Officer, Renovo Neural on Multiple Sclerosis Research and Discovery

Interview: June 20, 2013

Dr. Bruce Trapp has been studying multiple sclerosis for more than 30 years. He’s an innovator and viewed by many as the expert in the disease’s effects on the brain. Dr. Trapp will be the first to tell you that he is a scientist and not a clinician, but his commitment to the science is inextricably linked to the lives of those patients who may one day benefit from therapies he helps to develop at Renovo Neural.

“I’ve seen that the quality of life of a person with multiple sclerosis is often established by their approach to the disease. A positive approach makes their quality of life much better,” said Bruce Trapp, PhD, Founder, Chairman of SAB, and Chief Scientific Officer, Renovo Neural. “As scientists, we have to give them hope. We have science that shows that the multiple sclerosis brain never gives up repairing itself.”

Dr. Trapp’s current research focuses on better understanding myelination. Myelin sheath is the protective coating surrounding nerve cells that is destroyed during multiple sclerosis. This protective coating is produced by a special cell type called oligodendrocytes. A better understanding of the differentiation of oligodendrocytes from progenitor cells in the brain may help devise strategies to replace damaged myelin and promote repair.

“Everyone at Renovo Neural has some personal connection with the disease multiple sclerosis,” said Dr. Bruce Trapp. “They’re very committed not only to the success of Renovo, but also to discovering new therapeutics for multiple sclerosis.”

Dr. Trapp believes that the current anti-inflammatory therapies are working at their maximum capacity. It will be new therapies that if used in combination with existing anti-inflammatory therapies that will enhance, repair and reduce degeneration of the multiple sclerosis brain.

Renovo Neural’s President and Board Director Satish Medicetty, DVM, PhD, MBA says it’s Dr. Trapp’s hands-on involvement in the process of developing solutions for clients that makes Renovo’s science successful.

“Our clients’ confidence level goes up because of his accomplishments and contributions,” said Satish Medicetty, DVM, PhD, MBA, Renovo Neural’s President and Board Director. “Dr. Trapp’s seminal paper on axonal pathology is the second most cited paper in the field of multiple sclerosis. It was the first ever report explaining the underlying cause of irreversible neurological disability in multiple sclerosis.”

Dr. Trapp continues his research with the prestigious Cleveland Clinic looking for mechanisms that enhance myelin repair and limit neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis brains. “My goal in my lifetime, and I think we can get there, is to significantly stop the progression of the disease to the point where the multiple sclerosis patient will not require the use of a wheelchair.”

At Renovo, the number one goal is to establish assays and readouts for the development of new therapeutics. The aim is to set the industry standard for how studies need to be performed – with reliability and reproducibility.

With high-content and relatively high-throughput imaging infrastructure and stringent cell culture protocols, Renovo offers cell-based in vitro assays for primary and secondary screening to identify and evaluate potential leads that promote differentiation of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells. “Biotech and pharma has invested a lot of resources, with only limited success, in in vitro testing,” says Satish Medicetty, DVM, PhD, MBA. “They can benefit from utilizing our expertise.”

Renovo’s animal models of demyelination and remyelination provide a unique platform to test therapies that promote repair in multiple sclerosis. More importantly, the readouts in these models are very reliable and are highly relevant to the multiple sclerosis pathology. In addition, Renovo offers 3D-EM applications to evaluate remyelination and neuroprotection at an ultrastructural level. Renovo’s serial block face scanning EM infrastructure can produce several hundred EM “slices” through a cell or tissue overnight, which facilitates evaluation of various cellular and sub-cellular structures that cannot be assessed with conventional EM. “The 3D-EM describes with very high resolution the connection between different fibers and cells in the brain,” said Dr. Trapp. “There’s probably no other way that this data can be obtained.”

Renovo Neural’s in vitro, in vivo and 3D-EM capabilities along with the scientific staff dedicated to neuroscience clearly differentiates the company.

For more information on Renovo Neural and Dr. Trapp’s groundbreaking work, connect with the company on Twitter and LinkedIn or visit the website for updates. Dr. Trapp will attend the upcoming ECTRIMS 2013 conference October 2-5, Copenhagen Denmark.

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