Seldom do I venture outside the subject matter of constitutionalism, ideology and/or politics, but when I do it is either something personal, remarkable or both. The unique and innovative research and development taking place at Galectin Therapeutics™ is just such a subject. Should the scientists of this corporation succeed in bringing their product to market, the lives of millions of people in the United States - and potentially tens, if not hundreds of millions of people around the world - could be saved.
This issue is important to me because I have a personal experience with the evils of cancer and the fibrotic diseases. In 2000, my best friend from high school (a brother from the moment we met until the day he died) was taken from me, from his family, by the ravages of these diseases. He was diagnosed and taken in less than 30 days. The emotional toll on all his survivors was all encompassing and intense. It is with this personal understanding of the issue that the discovery of what Galectin Therapeutics is doing captivated my attention.
What would you say if I told you that a company - a gifted group of scientists - has developed a therapy that will save the lives of well over 15 million Americans suffering from diseases that currently have no cure, and that today can't be detected until it is too late?
What would you say if I told you that the Food & Drug Administration is so impressed with the data surrounding this new drug therapy that they have awarded "Fast Track" status to this drug, and that, according to Morgan Brennan of CNBC Business News, there has never - never - been a Fast Tracked drug that has failed to come to market?
And what would you say if I told you that not only will this drug be extremely affordable when it comes to market, but that you - you - could be a part of this history-making endeavor?
Well, it is all true...and none-to-soon for the many people who suffer from fibrosis of the liver, kidneys and lungs, and some forms of cancer, thanks to groundbreaking work being done by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics.
The researchers and scientists associated with Galectin Therapeutics, led by Dr. Peter G. Traber, MD - president emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine and former senior vice president of clinical development & medical affairs and chief medical officer of GlaxoSmithKline - are bringing hope to millions of people in the United States who suffer from both fibrosis (kidney, liver and lung) and cancer. Their research into galectin proteins, which have been proven to play a pivotal role in the genesis of many diseases, including fibrotic disease and cancer, is unprecedented. In fact, the Food & Drug Administration has awarded Fast Tracked status to the development of their project - a class of galectin inhibiting carbohydrate polymers. These unique and revolutionary compounds bind to galectin proteins and disrupt their function, which has a beneficial effect on these diseases.
Fibrosis, by definition, is the development of ever-growing fibrous connective tissue in an organ when exposed to a chronic disease, such as kidney, liver or lung fibrosis. The longer the disease affects the organ, the more fibrous tissue is deposited and this, ultimately, results in the complete failure of the organ. Drug candidates exposed to Galectin Therapeutics therapies have shown them to be incredibly effective, providing a promising and exciting new approach for the treatment of these fibrotic diseases; hope where once there was none...none.
Additionally, Shirley Wang, of the Wall Street Journal, reports:
"Some 1 in 10 children in the US, or more than 7 million, are thought to have the disease, according to recent studies.
"The condition, in which the normally rust-colored organ becomes bloated and discolored by yellowish fat cells, has become so common in non-drinkers that it has been dubbed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease...
"The condition's rise is tied to the obesity epidemic - about 40% of obese children have it - but isn't caused solely by being overweight. The disease appears to be growing among normal-weight children too, experts say. And even though obesity rates are starting to level off, the prevalence of fatty liver disease continues to rise..."
In a nutshell, what Dr. Traber and his colleagues at Galectin Therapeutics have done is groundbreaking if for only this specific reason. Currently, there are no approved medical treatments available for the millions of patients in the United States who have non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NYSEARCA:NASH) with advanced fibrosis, or liver fibrosis - today commonly known as "fatty liver disease." The only alternative to an eventual death for anyone afflicted by these diseases - including the millions of children affected - is organ transplantation. The same is true for kidney and lung fibrosis. With the availability of healthy organ tissue at a premium, many more afflicted with these diseases perish than survive. This is why the work being done by Dr. Traber and his team is so incredibly important to the management of these diseases; diseases that will strike hundreds of millions of people around the world in our lifetime.
Further, the Galectin Therapeutics team is making similar inroads into the treatment of cancer.
Based on studies in non-human models, Galectin Therapeutics is exploring how its galectin inhibitors perform in combination immunotherapy clinical trials, focusing on the treatment, initially, of advanced melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that there were over 68,000 new diagnoses and 8,100 deaths from melanoma in the United States in 2011. Metastatic melanoma has a poor prognosis with less than 5% of patients surviving five years from the point when the cancer has affected a person's organs. Galectin Therapeutics galectin inhibitors represent and remarkable breakthrough for people suffering from this killer disease.
One of the most important moments for the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics - and for the millions who suffer from fibrotic diseases - came when the FDA approved the drug for "fast track" status. Fast Track status is defined by the FDA as:
"...a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review of drugs to treat serious conditions and fill an unmet medical need... An unmet medical need is a condition whose treatment or diagnosis is not addressed adequately by available therapy."
By awarding Galectin Therapeutics therapies Fast Track status the FDA recognizes - and admirably so - that this new therapy is the best hope for millions of people afflicted with fibrotic diseases. And for the millions of people worldwide who suffer from fibrotic diseases, and for their families and loved ones, the therapies being developed by the scientists at Galectin Therapeutics can only be seen as their only hope.
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: Frank Salvato is a non-profit and public relations executive. His syndicated columns are read nationally. He is a frequent guest on talk radio and had appeared on FOX News Channel's O'Reilly Factor.