Another important detrimental chronokine to the biological process of aging is known as beta-2 microglobulin (B2M).
B2M is a protein in human plasma that increases in concentration with age and also accumulates in the blood of end stage renal disease (ESRD) patients undergoing hemodialysis.
B2M was identified as a detrimental pro-aging factor as increasing plasma concentrations have negative impacts on cognition and the generation of new neurons in the adult brain.1 Among the roughly 500,000 ESRD patients in the US who require hemodialysis2, the prevalence of cognitive impairment is significantly overrepresented, even when adjusting for age and co-morbidities. Some studies have shown some degree of cognitive impairment in up to 70% of ESRD patients.3 Our research suggests that cognitive impairment in ESRD may be associated with the harmful accumulation of B2M and other plasma proteins that are insufficiently removed by hemodialysis.
In a pilot trial, Alkahest is studying the effects of removing B2M using an extracorporeal device, AKST1210. By reducing levels of B2M in the plasma using the AKST1210 device, Alkahest hopes to understand whether it is possible to improve cognitive impairment and enable patients undergoing hemodialysis for ESRD to achieve improved treatment outcomes and quality of life.
1. Smith LK, et al. “β2-microglobulin Is a Systemic Pro-Aging Factor That Impairs Cognitive Function and Neurogenesis.” Nature Medicine. 2015 Aug;21(8):932-7.
2. National Kidney Foundation Inc. “Kidney Disease: The Basics.” 2020.
3. Murray AM, et al. “Cognitive Impairment in Hemodialysis Patients Is Common.” Neurology. 2006 Jul 25;67(2):216-23.