A new drug, which has been tested on mice, resulted in very fast wound healing. The drug has no side effects, at least on the lab animals and even saved the lives of some animals. Would this drug also work in humans?
Stimulation of prostaglandin E2 production
The molecule is small and has the working title SW033291. It works, according to researchers from the American Cape Western University and UT Southwestern Medical Center, according to an article in the highly authoritative scientific journal Science. Mice treated with the agent showed wound healing approximately two times faster than normal. Organs such as liver, bone marrow and colon recovered much faster than in untreated animals from the double-blind test.
The drug works in two steps. The drug stops the body hormone 15-PGDH, so that this hormone can no longer inhibit the production of the substance prostaglandin E2. Therefore, the concentration of prostaglandin E2 rises sharply. Prostaglandin E2 revives stem cells in the body, which play an essential role in tissue repair. The stem cells divide and the cells that form attach themselves to grow the edges of injured tissue together.
Would the drug also work in humans?
The next step is to try the drug on humans. Humans are biologically different from mice. For example, a mouse of three years old is very old and the body weight of the average mouse is thousands of times less than that of a human. Many proteins differ in some respects between mice and humans. The drug may not work in living people. Long-term side effects may occur that are not detectable in the short-lived mice. Think of cancerous growths, or temporary exhaustion of the body due to the rapid wound repair. Nevertheless, this is a very promising drug that can save many lives in trauma situations (traffic accidents, combat situations, wound recovery after surgery). The lack of serious side effects in mice also gives hope. Hopefully, SW033291, or a similar drug, will survive clinical tests and no serious side effects will be found in humans.
Sanford D. Markowitz et al., Inhibition of the prostaglandin-degrading enzyme 15-PGDH potentiates tissue regeneration. Science, June 12, 2015, DOI: 10.1126 / science.aaa2340