Summary by Mari Luz González Casas

Translation by Marion Clark

To hear the entire presentation in Spanish on mp3, go to the following link:


Encuentro Ataxias (Ataxia Encounter) 2008

Organized by the

Colectivo Ataxias en Movimiento

(Ataxias on the Move Coalition)

Madrid, Spain 


Madrid, Spain, April 29, 2008

Fourth scientific presentation:


Francesc Garsó, Director of Brudy Technologies

“Cellular antioxidant based on DHA:  possible treatment for the deterioration of peripheral vision in several cases of ataxia patients”

Research project of Brudy Technologies in collaboration with the Catholic University of Murcia, University of Almeira, CSIC (Spanish Research Council) Center of Madrid, and the University of Barcelona.

Francesc Garsó


Last year, Dr. Joan Carles Domingo, professor of Molecular Biology of the School of Biology, University of Barcelona, presented the first part of this project.  This year D. Francesc Garsó presents this project to us again with the updates from the past year. 

First part:  in vitro phase

The objective was to investigate if it is possible to use DHA as a cellular antioxidant beneficial for the different ataxias, especially as a treatment in the deterioration of peripheral vision.

DHA is the most abundant liquid both in the retina and in the neurons as well, and for this reason it was thought that it could have therapeutic qualities.  In this regard, there were already many publications which partially validate this hypothesis.

For this project a specific DHA will be used, one with high antioxidant activity, prepared by the company Brudy Technologies.  DHA is one of the Omega-3 fatty acids.  In the last 8 years, Brudy has been developing a DHA molecule with antioxidant properties.  This molecule is now patented.

It began to be used in retinal cells for the deterioration of vision.  For this purpose retinal cells from the ARPE-19 cell line were used, and the antioxidant capacity of the molecule was studied in these.  Spectacular results were obtained in these cells.  Almost a 50% protection was achieved compared with untreated cells.

In these ARPE-19 retinal cells the antioxidant capacity of cysteine, vitamin C, vitamin E, and Co-Enzyme Q-10 was also studied.  It was shown that their protective action is very low.

It was shown that the molecule developed by Brudy offers from five to six times more protection than the rest.

The analysis was repeated using other types of omega-3 already available on the market, selecting those which most resemble the molecule developed by Brudy Technologies.  It was observed that those already on the market have a marked pro-oxidant activity.

An analysis was done to determine why a molecule, in theory pro-oxidant, would achieve this protective effect against oxidative stress.  The answer is found in the fact that this molecule is able to activate the entire glutathione enzyme system, and all the treated cells reach a level of glutathione 200-300% higher than that of normal cells.  So they are more immune to oxidative stress by having their DNA more protected.

Up to here we have seen the in vitro phase, which was already presented last year by Prof. Joan Carles Domingo.

Second part:  trials

In this past year the project moved from the in vitro phase to the study in humans.

The first clinical trial involved 40 athletes.  It was carried out with athletes, because ethically, Brudy Technologies cannot induce oxidation in human subjects.  But it has been scientifically demonstrated that extreme physical exertion produces sufficient oxidative stress to allow for measurement of the antioxidant capacity of the product.

First step:  Measurement of the antioxidant activity in plasma.  The first measure, done at 15 days, already demonstrates an increase in antioxidant capacity.  The second measurement, at three months after initiation of treatment, shows evidence of a great increase in antioxidant capacity.

Second step:  Measurement of lipid peroxidation.  At 15 days into the treatment, the athletes show a very great reduction in lipid peroxidation.  At three months they show evidence of less oxidative stress than before beginning physical exercise when they weren’t even in treatment.  Conclusion:  They were absolutely immune to oxidative damage. 

Third step:  DNA tests.  Internationally established parameters are used to measure oxidative damage in the DNA (8-OXO-Parosina).  Result:  1600% of protection from oxidative damage, that is to say, a healthy individual treated with this molecule suffers 16 times less damage in his DNA than an individual who is not treated.  In addition, this positive protection is maintained throughout the treatment period.

Brudy Technologies has just finalized the third clinical trial and is on the point of starting the fourth. 

In theory, the aging process is really oxidative damage caused to the DNA.

Three months ago, this product was registered as a medicinal drug; it is a nutritional supplement (a type of fat) with therapeutic qualities and does not have any known side effects.  All the clinical trials currently underway are now part of a dossier filed with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of the European Union [Europe’s equivalent of the FDA in the United States].  Brudy is going to request that the agency allow its product to be labeled as “anti-aging”.

At one time this drug was registered for cancer and AIDS, not for ataxias, but through Ataxias en Movimiento, ataxia patients are being recruited to participate in this trial.  Obviously this product is not going to cure ataxia—for that to happen it will take one of the other potential treatments being presented during today’s meeting.  Brudy Technologies offers its product to reduce damage to the neurons as much as possible.  The product offers the advantage of already being available.  The only obstacle is that it is still waiting for financing on the part of the Social Security system.


The legacy of Marie Schlau: literature to help cure Friedreich's Ataxia

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Research projects currently being financed by BabelFAmily

Currently, BabelFAmily is financing two promising research projects aimed at finding a cure for Friedreich's Ataxia. Whenever you make a donation to us or purchase a copy of "The legacy of Marie Schlau", this is where all funds raised will be devoted to:

1) Gene Therapy for Friedreich's Ataxia research project:

The project is the result of an initiative of Spanish people affected by this rare disease who are grouped in GENEFA in collaboration with the Spanish Federation of Ataxias and the BabelFAmily. The Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), one of the main patients’ associations in the United States now joins the endeavour.

2) Frataxin delivery research project:
The associations of patients and families Babel Family and the Asociación Granadina de la Ataxia de Friedreich (ASOGAF) channel 80,000 euros of their donations (50% from each organisation) into a new 18-month project at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona). The project specifically aims to complete a step necessary in order to move towards a future frataxin replacement therapy for the brain, where the reduction of this protein causes the most damage in patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia.

The study is headed by Ernest Giralt, head of the Peptides and Proteins Lab, who has many years of experience and is a recognised expert in peptide chemistry and new systems of through which to delivery drugs to the brain, such as peptide shuttles—molecules that have the capacity to carry the drug across the barrier that surrounds and protects the brain. Since the lab started its relation with these patients’ associations in 2013*, it has been developing another two projects into Friedrich’s Ataxia.



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