Galectin Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that develops therapeutic compounds that bind and inhibit galectin proteins with pathological activity, announced recently that its collaborative abstract on galectin-3 and its role on pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), will be presented at the American Thoracic Society (ATS) 2016 International Conference, May 13-18 in San Francisco.
The abstract, “Galectin-3 Mediates Vascular Remodeling in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension”, was developed in partnership with researchers at Augusta University (AU) in Augusta, Georgia. The research was conducted at the laboratories of Dr. Scott Barman (Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology) and Dr. David Fulton (Vascular Biology Center).
The research team investigated the therapeutic utility of targeting Galectin-3 (Gal-3) for the treatment of PAH, and the mechanisms involved in its effect on pulmonary vascular remodeling. Gal-3 plays a strong role in multiple signaling pathways that regulate cell proliferation, cell apoptosis (cell death), inflammation, and fibrosis. Previous studies have shown that Gal-3 is increased in the pulmonary arteries of PAH patients. Moreover, the aberrant vascular remodeling in PAH, characterized by excessive cell proliferation, stiffness, inflammation and fibrotic tissue, is still poorly understood.
Results indicated that galectin-3 is a central regulator of proliferation and fibrosis in PAH. Selective inhibition of Gal-3 led to the attenuation and reversal of pulmonary artery remodeling and measures of PAH in rats. In cultured human cells, inhibition of Gal-3 led to a reduction of cell proliferation and a decrease in fibrosis (collagen production).
Galectin Therapeutics’ lead compound, GR-MD-02, was one of the selective Gal-3 inhibitors developed and it is currently in Phase 2 studies for the treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and psoriasis.
“We are honored that the outstanding group of investigators at AU used our galectin inhibitor compounds, GR-MD-02 and GM-CT-01, in this important research and to have this research presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference,” said one of the study’s authors, Dr. Peter G. Traber, chief executive officer and chief medical officer of Galectin Therapeutics, in a press release. “The detailed results will be presented by the AU investigators who conducted these studies at the ATS meeting and further results will be released at that time.”