A new drug discovered recently offers possibility of regenerating damaged tissue at rates that were unheard of before. The drug has already been successfully tested on mice, and the researchers are gearing up for human trials soon.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in the United States have discovered a drug that rapidly repairs damage to the colon, liver, and bone marrow. Astonishingly, the drug doesn’t appear to have any adverse side-effects, proving to be one of the best tissue regeneration drugs in existence today. Though the drug has only been used on mice, it has saved the lives of some of these rodents, who would have otherwise died as a result of a deliberately botched bone transplant.
The drug would take at least another three years to be safely used on humans, but the current tests are very promising and the researchers are confident it will drastically reduce recovery times and improve survival after complex surgeries that have a chance of failing as well as life-threatening injuries, exclaimed lead researcher Sanford Markowitz, an oncologist from the University.
“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, which has been rather unimaginatively christened as “SW033291,” works by activating a natural molecule in the body known as prostaglandin E2, or PGE2. It has been a known fact that PGE2 helps the proliferation of adult stem cells, but in his earlier research, Markowitz was able to observe that there’s another gene product found in all humans known as 15-PGDH. This gene degrades and reduces the amount of PGE2, thereby severely restricting our body’s regenerative capabilities.
Stem cells play a very crucial role in healing. These “blank slate” cells can easily evolve by differentiating into new cell types as required within their tissue and heal the damaged region in the process. Joining the dots, the researchers thought they could allow PGE2 to flourish within the bodies by blocking the restrictive 15-PGDH gene, shared Markowitz.
“The chemical, SW033291, acts in an incredibly potent way. 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 team tested out the drug on mice that had received lethal doses of radiation before being given a partial bone marrow transplant. Astonishingly, only those mice that were administered the wonder-drug survived. The mice didn’t suffer from any adverse side-effects.
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