Gain Therapeutics and University of Maryland School of Medicine Announce Research Collaboration

BETHESDA, Md. and BALTIMORE, Nov. 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Gain Therapeutics, Inc. (“Gain”), today announced a research collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), to investigate Gain’s structurally targeted allosteric regulators (STARs) in cellular models of neuronopathic Gaucher disease (nGD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). STARs are proprietary small molecules targeting novel allosteric binding sites on enzymes. These small molecule drug candidates are designed to cross the blood brain barrier and penetrate other hard to treat organs such as bone and cartilage, stabilize the effective enzyme to restore function and reduce toxic substrate. Research will be led by Ricardo A. Feldman, Ph.D., Associate Professor, of Microbiology and Immunology in UMSOM.

Under the terms of the collaboration, UMSOM will investigate Gain’s STAR candidates in macrophage and neuronal models of nGD and GBA-associated PD. These diseases are characterized by mutations in the GBA gene, where misfolding of the enzyme encoded by GBA (beta-glucocerebrosidase (GCase)) interferes with its normal transport to the lysosome. The research program will aim to further elucidate the mechanism of action of Gain’s STAR candidates by studying their effect on GCase, including GCase’s enzyme activity and transport to the lysosome. Additionally, other effects such as prevention of alpha-synuclein aggregation in PD dopaminergic neurons will be evaluated.

“We are exceedingly proud to be advancing our work in nGD and Parkinson’s in close collaboration with the University of Maryland School of Medicine,” said Eric Richman, Chief Executive Officer at Gain. “The expertise and experience of UMSOM and Dr. Feldman will be instrumental as we work to further validate the exciting potential of Gain’s STAR candidate for these devastating diseases. I am confident these foundational studies will bring us closer to a potential new treatment option for those with these disorders.”

Dr. Feldman added, “Our laboratory has used human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) models of GD and GBA-associated PD to uncover the molecular mechanisms leading to these diseases. We have also developed very sensitive assays to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of small molecules in reversing the phenotypic abnormalities caused by mutant GBA in the cell types affected by these diseases, including macrophages and neuronal cells. I have been impressed by Gain’s initial results evaluating the potential of STARs in correcting enzyme misfolding and restoring function, and look forward to working with Gain’s team to further advance its program to treat these diseases.”

Gain and UMSOM intend to report initial data from the collaboration in the first half of 2021.

About Gain Therapeutics, Inc.
Gain Therapeutics is redefining drug discovery with its SEE-Tx™ target identification platform. By identifying and optimizing allosteric binding sites that have never before been targeted, Gain is unlocking new treatment options for difficult-to-treat disorders characterized by protein misfolding. Gain was originally established in 2017 with the support of its founders and institutional investors such as TiVenture, 3B Future Health Fund (previously known as Helsinn Investment Fund) and VitaTech. It has been awarded funding support from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for

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They met in Hawaii and built a life in rural Maryland. This fall, they died two days apart.

When the chief barber retired, Doris took over the first chair. She knew everyone, said her grandson, Jeffrey Grim.

“When she was in the hospital, her respiratory therapist said, ‘Did you cut hair?’ and she was like, ‘Yeah,’ ” Grim recalled in an interview, describing Doris’s hospitalization for covid-19 this summer. The respiratory therapist then said, “ ‘My dad used to take me to you when I was a little boy.’ ”

Doris Bender died of complications of coronavirus on Sept. 3, in Room 4107 of Meritus Medical Center Intensive Care Unit in Robinwood. Jacob had died Sept. 1 in the same hospital, also of covid-19, in Room 4109.

Jacob, who was 83, died at 2:36 p.m.. Doris, who was 81, died at 2:34 p.m.

“Two days apart, two minutes apart, two rooms apart,” said Grim, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “It’s really hard to lose both of them at the same time. My family will never be the same. And they were old, but I think we would have had a lot more years with them, if it wasn’t for covid.”

Grim said he isn’t certain how his grandparents contracted the virus. He remembers that the couple came into contact with someone who had the virus, but tested negative shortly thereafter. In August, Doris began experiencing heart attack-like symptoms.

“When they took her to the hospital, as protocol they did a covid test and found out that it was indeed the covid that was attacking her lungs and heart,” Grim said.

Jacob, who Grim called Pap-Pap, tested positive two days later, on Aug. 14. He was home for two weeks after Doris was hospitalized, but then his condition grew worse.

“All of a sudden, he just went downhill quickly” Grim said. “And we really think that because Grandma was such a caretaker, she wanted to make sure he passed before she was ready to go.”

Grim said that after Doris died, the family found a notebook where she kept count of how many newborn hats she had made for the hospital: 3,241 in all.

Before the pandemic, Doris enjoyed going out to play Bingo with her daughter Theresa on Wednesday nights and playing a Japanese card game called Hanafuda on Sundays, Grim said. She hated staying home during the pandemic, and even called it “jail.”

The couple tended to their garden, where they planted vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash. Grim said when Doris was in the hospital, the doctors told the family she was delirious and was talking about her cantaloupes being ready. But when Grim visited the garden afterward, he found “two perfectly bright cantaloupes.”

Doris would have turned 82 last week. The family didn’t come together to observe her birthday out of safety concerns. But Grim and his brother, Josh, bought anthuriums, a tropical flower their grandmother loved, to put on her grave.

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Maryland University of Integrative Health Appoints New Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Department Chair

Laurel, Md. – Maryland University of Integrative Health is pleased to announce that it has appointed Dr. Sharon Jennings-Rojas as the new chair of its acupuncture and Oriental medicine department. She brings a wealth of professional experiences to the role as a clinician, community health advocate, faculty member, and administrator.

Dr. Jennings-Rojas’ career includes a strong emphasis on community outreach and services. Since 2001, she has maintained a private practice providing care for individuals, families, and communities, and has served as a consultant, acupuncturist, and educator for the Howard County (MD) Detention Center and the Goucher College Student Health Center. She has also provided acupuncture detox services at Lincoln Hospital in New York, directed a maternal substance abuse acupuncture program as part of University of Maryland Medical Systems, consulted with the Federal Bureau of Prisons to incorporate acupuncture and meditation into recovery programs, and directed acupuncture and HIV administrative services for the CAMBA community support organization in the New York City area. Her work also includes providing access and advocacy for wounded warriors within various military installations.

“It’s paramount that we elevate the next generation of practitioners/healers. In this day and time, this new level of compassionate care is calling us all to take action by making integrative health, inclusive of acupuncture and other forms of world medicine, accessible to all people, including marginalized populations. We need more focus and care that provide an expanded understanding of the co-morbidities that plague underserved communities. Education and access are the keys. Once communities, and the people within them, know their natural healthcare options, and holistic ways of bolstering their health, they are more empowered to take their healthcare and wellness into their own hands. Education, self-advocacy, and access are key features of a healthcare system that can truly bring forth health and healing in all communities. MUIH is in a position to help redefine how we provide healthcare in this country. We’re prepared to take compassionate care to the next level, for all people and all communities.” said Dr. Jennings-Rojas.

She holds a Master of Acupuncture, and a Doctorate of Oriental Medicine from MUIH, as well as a B.A. in Eastern Philosophy from Vassar College. She has also completed graduate coursework in the philosophy of education from Teachers College of Columbia University. She also holds certification as a practitioner and trainer for the NADA protocol/ Ear acupuncture to address addictions, stress, and trauma. Dr. Jennings-Rojas has been a longstanding member of the MUIH community as a student, faculty, and staff member. She previously held several roles in MUIH’s acupuncture and Oriental medicine department including clinical faculty, director of community partnerships, and division chair of clinical practices.

“Dr. Jennings-Rojas has the experience and vision to expand acupuncture access across healthcare settings and within communities. Her academic, administrative, and clinical backgrounds make Dr. Jennings-Rojas the ideal leader for educating an acupuncture workforce prepared to address the complexity of modern healthcare needs,” said Dr. James Snow, Dean of Academic Affairs.

About Maryland University of Integrative

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Maryland Coronavirus Cases Climb By Nearly 800 In One Day

MARYLAND — Nearly 800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus were added to the count in Maryland in the past day, state health officials reported Saturday. On Oct. 1, there were more than 125,000 cases; as of Saturday, Oct. 17, there were more than 135,000.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Friday that fans would again be allowed at sporting events in the state, including NFL games.

Both M&T Bank Stadium and FedEx Field may host crowds of up to 10 percent capacity.

“With our key health metrics low and stable, we are taking steps to allow more spectators,” Hogan said in a statement Friday. He said the positivity rate was stable, “cases per 100K have declined, and zero counties are in the federal government’s ‘red zone.'”

The positivity rate is at 3.15 percent on a seven-day rolling average, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

In the past two weeks, hospitalizations have risen by about 100; there were 323 people hospitalized with the virus as of Saturday, Oct. 3, and officials said there were 422 Saturday, Oct. 17.

Here is the data about the coronavirus in Maryland from the state health department as of Saturday, Oct. 17:

Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.
Courtesy of Maryland Department of Health.

This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch

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Maryland adds 781 coronavirus cases, four deaths Friday

Maryland officials reported 781 new coronavirus cases on Friday and four new deaths associated with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

With Friday’s additions, Maryland has confirmed 134,329 cases and 3,887 deaths in total since state officials began tracking the spread of the virus in March. Through Thursday’s data, Maryland had the 29th most cases per capita and the 16th most deaths per capita in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center.

According to the university, it had conducted the 32nd-most tests per capita in the country. Maryland officials reported a total testing volume of just over 3 million on Friday, up by over 27,000 from Thursday. Officials also reported that nearly 11,000 additional people had tested negative on Friday.

The state’s seven-day positivity rate increased slightly from the previous day, sitting at 3.09% heading into the weekend.

Johns Hopkins, meanwhile, reported the state’s seven-day positivity rate to be 5.53%. Rather than calculate this rate by looking at the percentage of tests conducted that return a positive result — as state officials do — the university uses the percentage of people who test positive for the virus in a weeklong span, meaning individuals who are tested multiple times, regardless of results are only counted once in its measure.

This difference is significant because the World Health Organization says governments should wait until their positivity rates measure below 5% for 14 straight days before beginning to ease back virus-related restrictions.

According to state officials, Maryland has been under this threshold since July — the last day the state reported a daily positivity rate higher than 5% was July 28 — but Johns Hopkins hasn’t reported a rate lower than that bench mark for weeks.

After the number of people hospitalized from the virus’s effects dropped slightly on Thursday, this number increased again on Friday. Maryland reported four new COVID-19 patients on Friday, bringing the total to 416. According to state officials, 111 patients are currently being treated in intensive care units, up by two from Thursday.

As of Friday, 7,869 total people had been released from isolation after testing positive for COVID-19.

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