A peer-reviewed study assessing safety aspects of an early intervention therapeutic to reduce brain tissue damage following ischaemic stroke and other acute central nervous system injuries has returned encouraging findings. 

The novel neuroprotective, a peptide known as ARG-007, is being developed by biotech company Argenica Therapeutics, based on the pioneering work of Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey at the Western Australian-based Perron Institute and the University of Western Australia. 

Professor Meloni, Chief Scientific Officer with Argenica Therapeutics, is the senior author who led the recently published study entitled “Assessment of the safety of the cationic arginine-rich peptides (CARPs) poly-arginine-18 (R18 and R18D) in ex vivo models of mast cell degranulation and red blood cell hemolysis” in collaboration with researchers at the Perron Institute, UWA, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and the University of South Australia. 

“An allergic reaction to a drug, whilst relatively rare, can trigger side effects from a skin rash to life threatening reactions causing breathing problems,” Professor Meloni said.  

“Drugs can also cause damage to red blood cells when administered into a vein.   

“The study’s findings indicate that ARG-007 is unlikely to react with cells in the body that cause allergic reactions and unlikely to damage blood cells.” 

Argenica Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer, Dr Liz Dallimore said:  

“We are delighted that this preclinical research into important safety aspects of ARG-007 has been recognised by the Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports.  

It is a testament to the scientific rigour employed by Professor Meloni and his team of collaborators.” 

First author is Dr Adam Edwards (Perron Institute), and the other authors are Professor Frank Mastaglia (Perron Institute/UWA), Professor Knuckey (Perron Institute/UWA/SCGH), and Kwok-Ho Yip (University of South Australia). 

The study was supported by the Perron Institute and the Department of Neurosurgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  

This recent study, and the completion of the safety and toxicity preclinical studies is a significant milestone. Argenica Therapeutics is currently preparing for a Phase 1 clinical trial in Perth before the end of the year. 

Every 19 minutes someone in Australia will suffer a stroke, with the prospect of lasting brain damage, long term disability and even death. It is one of Australia’s biggest killers.  

Protecting the brain is crucial for improving patient outcomes and recovery.