The idea of a new wonder drug that will suddenly grow new tissues to replace damaged ones sounds more like it should be in a science fiction movie. But now, a new drug has recently been discovered that may offer that possibility, with researchers wanting human trials soon.
In a study published in Science, researchers from Case Western Reserve and UT Southwestern Medical Centre have stated the new drug rapidly repairs damage to the colon, liver, and bone marrow. It also appears to have no adverse side-effects.
If this is the case, it would be one of the best drugs for tissue regeneration to date.
“We are very excited,” said Sanford Markowitz, M.D., Ph.D., and an Ingalls Professor of Cancer Genetics at the university’s School of Medicine. “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.”
According to Science Daily, the institutions collaborating on this work next hope to develop the drug—now known as “SW033291″—for use in human patients. Because of the areas of initial success, they first would focus on individuals who are receiving bone marrow transplants, individuals with ulcerative colitis, and individuals having liver surgery. The goal for each is the same—to increase dramatically the chances of a more rapid and successful recovery.
The drug 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, wrote The Inquisitr.
“These are thrilling times for us as researchers, and it is also an exciting time for Case Western Reserve,” Markowitz said. “In Cleveland, there has been a major effort in the last two to three years to figure out how all our institutions can together work to develop drugs. This discovery is really something we should celebrate. It helps put us on the map as a place where new drugs get invented.”
It will take at least another three years before it could be safely used on humans, but the tests so far have been very promising. The researchers are confident that it will drastically reduce recovery times, and also improve survival after complex surgeries. Let’s hope it gets on the market soon.