Galectin TherapeuticsInc. (OTC: GALT) today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with Dr. Jose Jalife of the University of Michigan Medical School to better understand the relationship of Galectin-3 to cardiac fibrosis in chronic cardiac arrhythmias. Galectin-3 is known to be increased in patients with heart failure and is believed to be a critical mediator in the development of cardiac fibrosis. Understanding of these mechanisms could ultimately lead to new therapeutic approaches, including galectin inhibition, to cardiac fibrosis and chronic arrhythmias.
“The collaboration brings together one of the world’s top research universities and a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to addressing unmet medical needs through galectin inhibition”
“Galectin proteins appear to be pivotal in the development of fibrotic conditions. This relationship is the basis of our drug development program in therapies for liver fibrosis,” said Peter G. Traber, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, Galectin Therapeutics Inc. “Our collaboration with a world renowned investigator in cardiac disease has the potential to expand the understanding of the role of galectins into the area of cardiac fibrosis. This research collaboration with the University of Michigan will enable us to explore the potential of our existing compounds and pool the extensive knowledge of Dr. Jalife and his colleagues.”
“The collaboration brings together one of the world’s top research universities and a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to addressing unmet medical needs through galectin inhibition,” said Dr. Jose Jalife, Professor of Medicine and Director of Center for Arrhythmia Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan. “Our laboratory has long experience in understanding the mechanisms of irregular heart rhythms and the underlying pathology in the heart. Inhibition of galectins may be an important therapeutic target in these disorders and we are enthusiastic about exploring these mechanisms with Galectin Therapeutics.”
Galectin Therapeutics Portfolio Overview
Galectin Therapeutics is focusing its galectin inhibitor development efforts in two key disease areas: fibrosis and cancer.
- Liver Fibrosis: The Company is developing galectin inhibitors to treat liver fibrosis and the later stage of cirrhosis. Galectin Therapeutics’ candidates have demonstrated the ability to arrest and reverse liver fibrosis in pre-clinical studies.
- 60,000 deaths from cirrhosis occurred last year in the United States of which only 8,000 of the approximately 450,000 U. S. cirrhosis patients received life saving liver transplants. Liver fibrosis is a disease with no current treatment options except liver transplantation.
Galectin Therapeutics’ efforts in cancer encompass two distinct programs, cancer immunotherapy and chemotherapy.
- Cancer Immunotherapy: Recent experiments by The Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research in Brussels, Belgium indicated that GM-CT-01 reactivates T-cell-dependent tumor cell killing that had been turned off by galectins secreted by cancer cells. The Ludwig Institute is planning to initiate a Phase 1/2 trial of GM-CT-01 for patients with advanced metastatic melanoma. Patients will receive a tumor-specific peptide vaccination combined with multiple systemic and intra-tumor doses of GM-CT-01 following the second month and subsequent month’s vaccine administration.
- Cancer Chemotherapy: The Company is currently awaiting review of its application for marketing approval in Colombia, South America for the use of GM-CT-01 (formerly known as DAVANAT®) in combination with 5-FU for metastatic colorectal cancer. GM-CT-01 will be commercialized by Galectin Therapeutics’ partner Pro-Caps in Colombia, pending regulatory approval in that country.