MG53 protein shown to be useful for treating traumatic tissue damage

June 21, 2012

Throughout the lifecycle, injury to the body’s cells occurs naturally, as well as through trauma. Cells have the ability to repair and regenerate themselves, but a defect in the repair process can lead to cardiovascular, neurological, muscular or pulmonary diseases. Recent discoveries of key genes that control cell repair have advanced the often painstaking search for ways to enhance the repair process.

A new study by researchers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School reports that the protein MG53, previously shown to be the key initiator in the cell membrane , has the potential to be used directly as a therapeutic approach to treating traumatic . The research, published today, is featured on the cover of Science Translational Medicine.

“We studied the use of MG53 in treating muscular dystrophy by targeting the protein directly to the damaged muscle. The direct application of MG53 slowed the development of the disease by repairing damaged muscle membranes,” said Noah Weisleder, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and corresponding author of the study. “Our findings also suggest that MG53 could be used in regenerative medicine to treat other human diseases in which traumatic cell injury occurs.”

The study established methods to produce MG53 protein for use as a drug in different formulations that were effective when applied both inside and outside of damaged cells. Evidence showed that MG53 initiated repair to cell membranes in striated muscles, where it occurs naturally, but also initiated repair mechanisms outside of the muscle cells, providing protection to the tissue and slowing progression of disease. Additional research as part of this study found that the application of the protein as a therapy is safe.

MG53 was discovered in 2008 by Jianjie Ma, PhD, professor and acting chair of physiology and biophysics at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, who was the first to specifically pinpoint that the protein was responsible for promoting cell repair.

“We believe this new research could translate into therapeutic treatment for a broad range of diseases, including heart attack, lung injury and kidney disease, as well as muscular dystrophy,” said Dr. Ma, who oversaw this study. “Before clinical trials can begin, we must complete the pre-clinical studies that include additional safety tests and production of MG53 protein that can be used in human patients as a therapeutic drug.”

The study was conducted in conjunction with TRIM-edicine, a privately held biotechnology company spun-off from UMDNJ and created to commercialize the development of novel biopharmaceutical products in which Dr. Ma and Dr. Weisleder hold an interest. The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an NIH Small Business Research Grant, and the Jain Foundation.

Related Stories

Stem cells, signaling pathways identified in lung repair

October 11, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at National Jewish Health have identified cells and signaling molecules that trigger the repair of injured lungs. Stijn De Langhe, PhD, and his colleagues report October 10, 2011, online in ...

Naturally produced protein could boost brain repair

January 10, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists from the Medical Research Council (MRC) have discovered that a protein produced by blood vessels in the brain could be used to help the brain repair itself after injury or disease.

Recommended for you

A cheaper, high-performance prosthetic knee

July 30, 2015

In the last two decades, prosthetic limb technology has grown by leaps and bounds. Today, the most advanced prostheses incorporate microprocessors that work with onboard gyroscopes, accelerometers, and hydraulics to enable ...

Crystal clear images uncover secrets of hormone receptors

July 31, 2015

Many hormones and neurotransmitters work by binding to receptors on a cell's exterior surface. This activates receptors causing them to twist, turn and spark chemical reactions inside cells. NIH scientists used atomic level ...

Flow means 'go' for proper lymph system development

July 27, 2015

The lymphatic system provides a slow flow of fluid from our organs and tissues into the bloodstream. It returns fluid and proteins that leak from blood vessels, provides passage for immune and inflammatory cells from the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.