News | April 14, 2009

T 4 Identified as Key Molecule Capable of Triggering Stem Cells to Repair Damaged Adult Heart

April 14, 2009 – Regenerx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. said yesterday researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) in Dallas, TX, published a new paper elaborating on the regenerative effects of T 4 on heart cells and blood vessel growth after a heart attack in a rodent model.

The new findings in mice suggest that introducing T 4 systemically after a heart attack encourages new growth and repair of heart cells, according to UTSW. The research findings indicate that the molecule affects developmental gene expression as early as 24 hours after systemic injection. The researchers also stated T 4 is the first known molecule capable of organ-wide activation of embryonic coronary developmental program in the adult mammalian heart after systemic administration.

“This molecule has the potential to reprogram cells in the body to get them to do what you want them to do. Obviously, the clinical implications of this are enormous because of the potential to reverse damage inflicted on heart cells after a heart attack,” said J. Michael DiMaio, M.D., the senior author of the study and a cardiothoracic surgeon at UTSW.

The study was published April 10, online in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology and will appear in the journal in May. The work was supported by the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, and the Ted Nash Long Life Foundation. Deepak Srivastava, M.D., one of the authors of the study, is a member of RegeneRx’s Scientific Advisory Board.

“We are pleased and impressed with the work conducted at UTSW, which expands upon the original work done in Dr. Srivastava’s lab when he was at UTSW and published in the journal Nature. The fact that they found that T 4 caused new blood vessel growth and prevented the death of heart cells after injury is further confirmation of the previously reported biological activities of T 4 and its potential as a drug to treat patients with ischemic injuries to the heart,” said Dr. Allan L. Goldstein, discoverer of T 4, professor of biochemistry at The George Washington University Medical School and chief scientific advisor to RegeneRx. “Their discovery of molecular signals triggered by T 4 that are essential for the differentiation of stem cells and repair of heart tissue following a heart attack strongly support RegeneRx’s clinical efforts in human subjects focused on cardioprotection and repair of the heart after ischemic damage.”

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