According to a story from globenewswire.com, the biotechnology company CytoDyn Inc. has recently announced the initiation of a phase 2 clinical trial. This clinical trial will be testing the company’s experimental therapy leronlimab as a treatment for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). The investigators are hoping that the drug will be able to have a meaningful impact on one of the most characteristic symptoms associated with the illness: fibrosis, or scarring, of the liver.
About Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of liver disease in which fat is deposited in the liver independent of excessive alcohol consumption. This disease can progress rapidly. Risk factors include metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. There also appears to be some genetic component to the disease as well. This condition also increases the risk of other health problems and liver cancer. Men also seem to be at greater risk, getting the disease as almost twice the rate that women do. Symptoms of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis include jaundice, malaise, fatigue, and abdominal pain or discomfort. Without treatment, the liver can become scarred and the patient may need a liver transplant. However, the condition can also be managed with proper diet, the use of certain medications, and exercise. To learn more about nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, click here.
New Therapies Needed
There are currently no FDA approved therapies specifically for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and rates of the disease appear to be increasing. It estimated to become the number one reason for liver transplants in 2020. This study is expected to include a total of 90 patients. Preclinical investigations suggest that leronlimab could potentially inhibit liver scarring and appeared effective for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor condition to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.
Leronlimab is classified as a CCR5 antagonist. The CCR5 receptor has been documented playing a role in various diseases, and can mediate the ability of viral particles to infect healthy cells. It also is implicated in immune system diseases and the spread of cancer tumors. The experimental drug has the potential to be of utility in a wide variety of diseases, including COVID-19. The therapy is also being evaluated in HIV/AIDs, metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, and graft-versus-host disease.