miRagen Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company involved in the discovery of RNA-based therapies, will present new preclinical safety and feasibility data for the therapy MRG-201 in the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis at the upcoming European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress.
miRagen will present a poster titled, “Feasibility, distribution, and efficacy of an inhaled oligonucleotide mimic of miR-29 for pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin in rats,” according to a press release. The conference will be held Sept. 9-13, 2017, in Milan, Italy.
MRG-201 mimics the activity of microRNA-29, which is a small RNA molecule that is involved in decreasing the production of proteins that researchers believe are involved in fibrosis development.
As a natural response to tissue injury, cells start to produce proteins that are involved in wound healing, including collagen and other proteins of the gel-like substance known as extracellular matrix. They also produce proteins that contribute to fibrous scar tissue formation. However, the excess production of the extracellular matrix can cause thickening and fibrosis of lung tissue, leading to pulmonary fibrosis.
microRNA-29 has been found at very low levels in many fibrotic conditions, such as cutaneous, cardiac, renal, hepatic, pulmonary, and ocular fibrosis. Because of its ability to mimic the actions of microRNA-29, MRG-201 may be an effective therapeutic in the treatment of various types of fibrosis.
miRagen has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial with MRG-201 (NCT02603224; MRG201-30-001) in the treatment of induced cutaneous fibrosis in healthy volunteers to determine the drug’s safety and tolerability.
During the trial, volunteers were injected with MRG-201 directly into healthy intact skin or close to a small skin incision. The skin was then collected and biopsied to determine the response of skin cells to MRG-201. This allows researchers to determine whether MRG-201 is effective at decreasing formation of scar tissue.
miRagen believes that results will support the use of MRG-201 as a therapy for fibrotic conditions. MRG-201 and MRG-106 are the company’s lead products and are currently in clinical development.
The ERS International Congress is the world’s largest meeting of respiratory professionals, including researchers, clinicians, general practitioners and allied health professionals, and showcases outstanding scientific research and educational programs.