Inhibition Of Lipofuscin Aggregation By Molecular Tweezers

Tech ID: 29582 / UC Case 2018-455-0


UCLA researchers in the Departments of Neurology and Molecular Therapy & Medical Genetics have developed a novel approach toward broad inhibition of lipofuscin aggregation.


Lipofuscin is an age-related pigment compound that can be found throughout the body and its aggregation is associated with conditions ranging from macular degeneration to Alzheimer’s disease. Excessive accumulation of lipofuscin is also associated with a group of neurodegenerative disorders known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL). There are a number of treatments for NCL, including an FDA-approved enzyme replacement therapy, and gene therapy and small molecule approaches in clinical trials. However, despite the widespread association of lipofuscin aggregation with human disease, there are no general therapeutic approaches which inhibit its aggregation.


Professor Bitan and coworkers have demonstrated that the molecular tweezer CLR01 may be used to inhibit lipofuscin aggregation. CLR01 is a large organic compound with an open cavity that is able to bind and sequester guest molecules and has been shown to be non-toxic in multiple cell culture and animal tests. In human retinal pigment cells, treatment with CLR01 inhibits the formation of lipofuscin aggregates when administered pre- or post- lipofuscin addition.


  • Treatment of neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) 
  • Treatment ofneuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis 
  • Treatment of lipid myopathy and centronuclear myopathy 
  • Treatment of melanosis coli 
  • Treatment of inherited juvenile macular degeneration


  • No previous therapeutic approaches for prevention of lipofuscin aggregation 
  • Non-cytotoxic 
  • Efficacious when tweezer is administered pre- or post-lipofuscin aggregation

State Of Development

Tweezers have been used to prevent lipofuscin aggregation in human retinal pigment cells. Pre-treatment of cells with the molecular tweezer and subsequent administration of lipofuscin resulted in 60% reduction in aggregation. However, when the lipofuscin was administered first and subsequently treated with the molecular tweezer, aggregation was reduced almost to negative-control level.

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
Patent Cooperation Treaty Published Application WO2020036656 02/20/2020 2018-455

Additional Patent Pending

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  • Bitan, Gal

Other Information


Lipofuscin aggregation, molecular tweezer, macular degeneration

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