A new drug has been shown to repair damage to the colon, liver and bone marrow in animal models. It even saved the lives of mice who otherwise would have died in a bone marrow transplantation model, say researchers at Case Western Reserve and UT Southwestern Medical Center who conducted the study.
Sanford Markowitz, MD, PhD, medical oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s Seidman Cancer Center, said:
“We are very excited. We have developed a drug that acts like a vitamin for tissue stem cells, stimulating their ability to repair tissues more quickly. The drug heals damage in multiple tissues, which suggests to us that it may have applications in treating many diseases.”
The drug, for now known as “SW033291", will next be developed for use in human patients, institutions collaborating on this work hope. Due to the focuses of the initial success, they first would investigate use in individuals receiving bone marrow transplants, with ulcerative colitis, and having liver surgery.
The goal for each set of patients is the same. Dramatically increased chances of a more rapid and successful recovery.
“The chemical, SW033291, acts in an incredibly potent way,” Markowitz said. “It can inactivate 15-PGDH when added at one part in 10 billion into a reaction mixture, which means it has promise to work as a drug.”
The most crticial part of the drug’s potential? A tiny molecule the body produces known as prostaglandin E2, or PGE2.
It has been established that PGE2 supports proliferation of many types of tissue stem cells. Markowitz and University of Kentucky Professor Hsin-Hsiung Tai earlier had demonstrated that a gene product found in all humans, 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH), degrades and reduces the amount of PGE2 in the body.
Since bone marrow, colon, and liver are significantly different tissues, the investigators believe the pathway by which SW033291 quickens tissue regeneration is probable to also work for treating diseases of many other tissues of the body.
For example, with bone marrow transplants, the effects of SW033291 accelerating tissue growth might give the body the cells needed to fight off the two most common and sometimes fatal complications, infection and bleeding.
The researchers' next milestone will be completing studies that demonstrate the safety of SW033291-related compounds in larger animals. This is a required step on the path to getting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for trials in humans.
_Illustration: Professor Alan Boyde, Wellcome Images, Creative Commons by-nc-nd 4.0 _