The research showed that a protein, cardiotrophine-1 (CT-1), increases the survival rate of animal models with acute liver failure due to the RHD virus. The work, part of the Biomedical Centre for Research into Hepaticand DigestiveDiseases (CIBERehd), was published in the Journal of Virology, the journal of the North American Microbiology Society.
Acute liver failure is not a common disease (about two thousand cases annually in the United States), and is characterised by the massive destruction of liver tissue due to viral infections, ingestion of toxic products orautoimmune reactions. The only resolutive treatment is a liver transplant, but 30% of patients die without having received a transplant.
CT-1 is a protein that fulfils functions of natural defence against the cell death of the liver. IBIOMED researchers at the University of Leon and the CIMA of the University of Navarra studied itstherapeutic effect on models that developed acute liver failure after inoculation with RHD virus. “we confirmed that, while all the infected animals died within 3 days, 70% of the those models treated with CT-1 survived in the long term. These surprising therapeutic effects are due to the fact that CT-1 attenuates the inflammation and increases the production of molecules with hepatoprotectorand pro-regenerativeactivity”, explained doctors Ms Maria JesúsTuñón and Mr Jesús Prieto, research coordinators.
Research results suggest that this protein could be useful as a treatment in situations of damage due to acute liver failure. Based on these findings, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States of America has designated CT-1 as an “orphan medication” for acute liver failure. “If we confirm its effectiveness in clinical trials, we will have a drug that could enhance the prognosis of this class of patients and reduce the need for transplants in these cases”, pointed out Dr.Prieto. Digna Biotech, the biotech company focused on the development of products investigated at the CIMA, has programmed the start of the clinical trials (phase I) for the coming months.
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