BAR HARBOR – A patent award for a new drug could save the lives of many who are suffering from heart disease.
“So what we are trying to do is find ways in which we can improve the functions of the heart after an injury like a heart attack,” said Voot Yin, Ph.D.
With heart disease being one of the country’s leading causes of death, the MDI Biological Laboratory is researching new ways to regenerate damaged tissues through a drug called MSI-1436. Currently, they are testing it on mice and zebrafish.
“With mice and zebrafish being separated by 450 million years of evolution, the fact that we are getting same effect in these two model organism is huge,” said Kevin Strange, Ph.D., president of the MDI Biological Laboratory and co-founder and CEO of Novo Biosciences, “It really bodes well for possibly working on humans too.”
They are hoping that the drug will reawaken dormant genetic programs that will increase a human’s ability to heal damaged tissues. MSI-1436 was previously tested before for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Although the study did not continue, it was determined the molecules were safe for patients.
“They also provided some evidence that it was actually acting like it was supposed to,” said Strange. “It was inhibiting the target that it was going after.”
“If this really works — I want to be cautious here — but if it works for humans, it will really be a game-changer for how you would treat humans,” he said.