In late 2012, we announced a new collaboration between scientists working in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh and Galecto Biotech AB, a spin out company of the University of Lund (Sweden). This collaboration developed a series of novel Galectin-3 inhibitors as potential treatments for fibrosis.
The original collaboration has been further extended with a fully paid position for Dr Alison Mackinnon to work on and develop the Galectin-3 inhibition project further. Galectin-3 inhibitors may inhibit the processes that drive tissue fibrosis.
Fibrosis is a disease of the connective tissue which results in excessive scarring of organs. It can occur in a wide variety of organ sites and is due to deposition of collagen and the formation of excessive fibrous tissue. It is a serious contributing factor to a number of illnesses, including: pulmonary fibrosis, cancer, inflammation, heart disease and stroke and is a huge burden on healthcare systems worldwide. Current treatments are limited, ultimately with organ transplantation being the mainstay treatment for end-stage fibrotic disease. New anti-fibrotic treatments are essential.
The initial collaborative research performed at the University of Edinburgh highlighted the potential role of Galectin-3 in fibrosis and that Galectin-3 inhibitors may inhibit the processes which drive tissue fibrosis.
The new collaboration with Galecto Biotech will develop a series of novel Galectin-3 inhibitors as potential treatments. In particular, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a particularly debilitating and incurable disease, the inhibitors generated as part of this collaborative effort may prove to be successful treatments for this disease.
For Galecto Biotech, the collaboration will allow the company to develop its range of proprietary Galectin 3 inhibitors further with the researchers at the heart of Galectin-3 research and will be heavily involved in the direction of the collaboration moving forward.
Dr Mackinnon said: “In particular, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a particularly debilitating and incurable disease, the inhibitors generated as part of this collaborative effort may prove to be successful treatments for this disease.”