A new approach by targeting pathogenic effects of human endogenous retroviruses

GeNeuro is developing a new approach to the treatment of diseases associated with human endogenous retrovirus expression.

The sequencing of the human genome revealed that nearly one-half of the genome is composed of repeated or retro transposable elements. Among them, human endogenous retroviruses represent up to 8% of the human genome and are believed to have originated from viral infections that were integrated into the human germline during evolution.

These human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) appear to to be significt in certain diseases, and sit at the crossroads of genetics, virology and physiopathology.

A human endogenous retrovirus, the multiple sclerosis associated retrovirus (MSRV), is a member of the HERV-W family. The endogenous retrovirus MSRV was initially isolated in cell cultures from patients affected with multiple sclerosis in the 90’s. MSRV is normally latent in the genomes of healthy individuals, and does not express any proteins, but it can be re-activated by certain co-factors, such as viruses of the herpes family, and to express a pathogenic envelope protein (MSRV-Env).

The MSRV retrovirus appears to be a major triggering and aggravating factor in the development and progression of some neurological diseases. Depending on environmental co-factors and target organs, the retrovirus MSRV could be involved in multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and schizophrenia.