Hippo Biology: The Next Step in Tissue Regeneration

by Aaron Gochman (’18)

hippo.jpg

Fig. 1: Scientists took advantage of a unique signaling pathway found in hippopotami to study tissue regeneration.

Traditional studies of tissue regeneration and repair have focused on delivering cells and biomaterials, compounds that will presumably grow when placed in a biologically friendly environment. A new avenue for research, however, has been revealed by a Chinese group that has chosen to focus on drug-based therapeutics instead. The study detailed a discovery in which the team found a drug, XMU-MP-1, which inhibits an important signaling pathway in mice. Interestingly, the drug was discovered while exploring MST1 and MST2, two important kinases in hippopotami.

MST1 and MST2 play a significant role in organ growth, hence their viability as pharmacological targets in tissue repair and regeneration. Treatment of the drug on mice yielded significant progress in intestinal and liver repair and regeneration.

Drug-based therapeutics in tissue regeneration, as opposed to biomaterials delivery, represents a novel pathway for research in the field. An additional advantage it poses is the vast body of research and techniques available from decades of pharmacological research, in contrast to the relative dearth of approaches possible in cellular delivery.

 

References:

  1. F. Fan, et al., Pharmacological targeting of kinases MST1 and MST2 augments tissue repair and regeneration.  Sci Transl Med 8, (2016).
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