Potential therapy for treatment-resistant hypothyroidism proves effective in lab study
A new 'metal-coordinated' drug delivery technology potentially could be used to supplement the standard therapy for hypothyroidism, which affects nearly 10 million Americans, and many more patients worldwide, according to results of a study published in the journal Thyroid this month.
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In 2006 I helped co-found Synthonics, a small biotechnology company. By innovatively attaching biological metals like magnesium, zinc, and calcium to molecules, we discovered that we could favorably alter the way many currently used drugs are absorbed and distributed throughout the body. This modification is particularly helpful for medications requiring high and frequent dosing which can cause unintended side effects and sub-optimal responses.
Through many years of laboratory research and animal trials, our focus is on two lead drug products: a sustained-release thyroid medication (T3) and a sustained-release drug to treat Parkinson’s disease (levodopa).
These products offer great potential to improve patients’ overall health and quality of life. For example, our sustained-release T3 product may be used to better manage the 15-20% of hypothyroid patients who are inadequately treated with levothyroxine alone, and may additionally help patients with chronic fatigue, refractory depression, excessive weight and heart failure. Similarly, an improved levodopa (Sinemet) product may allow Parkinson’s patients to be started on the medication earlier in the course of their disease, reduce the disabling on-off phenomenon which occurs during treatment and decrease the incidence of long-term dystonic (involuntary movement) side effects.
We anticipate starting human clinical trials within the next twelve months for both products. This may lead to additional clinical trials, with the ultimate goal of obtaining FDA approval in several years.
We have several other ongoing projects with great promise at earlier stages of drug development. These include novel antibiotics, a new topical drug for HPV infections and use of metal-coordinated cannabinoids to treat refractory seizures, severe nausea and chronic pain.