Drug shows promise in cancer treatment Reducing scarring in scleroderma
Drugs that target BET, particularly an isomer called BRD4, have been developed by various pharmaceutical companies to treat cancer.
The results are published in JCI Insight revealed that drugs that inhibit BRD4, which are known to play a role in cancer, also affect fibrosis in scleroderma.
The researchers tested the BRD4 inhibitor on skin fibroblasts from scleroderma patients and in a mouse model of skin fibrosis. They found that the treatment stopped scarring in both human and animal-derived cells.
The inhibitors used by Michigan Medicine researchers have shown promise in the treatment of various cancers in preclinical studies. Specifically, a drug used in the recent study, called AZD5153, is being tested in a phase I clinical trial for sarcomas and lymphomas.
“Through this study, we discovered a new epigenetic drug that can be used in scleroderma.“Pen-Suen Tsou (Eliza), PhD, senior author of the paper and a rheumatologist at Michigan Medicine.
“If we can re-use these drugs and develop them more quickly, we could provide faster pain relief for patients struggling with the debilitating symptoms of this autoimmune disease. This process can usually take about 10 years, but our patients can’t wait that long. “
The study was a collaborative effort with the Scleroderma Program of Michigan Medicine. Tsou’s group also found that a calcium signaling protein, called CaMKII, affects fibrosis in scleroderma, something that the researchers had not previously seen.
“Right now, we’re doing some follow-up studies to see if these protein inhibitors can prevent scarring for scleroderma.“Tsou said.”This opens up a whole new direction for us to come up with a new target for this disease. “