In order to actually develop the innovative CONNECT treatment, two major technological breakthroughs must be developed:
1- Capsule Design: Targeting Damaged Cells
The CONNECT treatment revolves around the ability of the tiny injected capsules to identify and target damaged nerve cells.
In other words, the capsules must be able to find the cells that need the enzymes. Previous studies have suggested that one possible way to do this may be to design a capsule that is attracted to proNGF and p75 proteins, which are secreted by injured cells. When these two proteins work together, they disable the nerve cells, leading to the cells’ death. Once the capsule reaches the cells, attracted by these proteins, it can disable the proteins to prevent the cells from dying.
Targeting the injured cells is especially important in the first injection, C-1, which disables proteins in the cells, because the CONNECT injection then destroys inhibitor proteins, which could do unnecessary damage to healthy cells.
Scientists must also discover a way to create the microscopic capsules for the injections. The capsules must be made of a dissolvable, semi-permeable substance that will carry the required antibodies and enzymes in the two injections.
2- Enzyme Synthesis
Proteins necessary for the CONNECT injection must also be synthesized and tested in a laboratory. Relatively little is known about these recently discovered proteins and more research about the proteins that inhibit or encourage nerve growth will ensure a safer treatment. It is important to fully understand the role of the growth-inhibiting proteins in a healthy cell so that the treatment will not cause more damage than good. The proteins have a purpose in healthy cells, so they may need to be reinstated once the nerve cells have been fully healed. Scientists also need to develop anti-MAG antibodies to disable the MAG in the myelin of the cells to clear the way for re-growth.