This week in therapeutics




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Hepatic disease

Liver fibrosis

Mothers against decapentaplegic homolog 3 (MADH3; SMAD3); transforming growth factor receptor-b1 (TGFB1); vitamin D receptor (VDR)

In vitro and mouse studies suggest VDR agonists could help treat or prevent liver fibrosis. In mice, prophylactic and therapeutic use of the VDR agonist calcipotriol prevented or decreased chemically induced liver fibrosis compared with no treatment. In primary hepatic stellate cells, VDR agonism suppressed TGFB1-induced activation of profibrotic SMAD3 genes. Next steps include using cell- or tissue-targeting approaches to develop vitamin D-based therapeutics.
Leo Pharma A/S and CSL Ltd. market Dovonex calcipotriol/betamethasone to treat psoriasis.
At least four other companies have vitamin D analogs in Phase II testing or earlier to treat cancer or autoimmune diseases.

SciBX 6(19); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.468
Published online May 16, 2013

Patent application filed; unavailable for licensing

Ding, N. et al. Cell;
published online April 25, 2013;
Contact: Ronald M. Evans, Salk Institute for Biological Studies,
La Jolla, Calif.
Contact: Michael Downes, same affiliation as above