NORCROSS, Ga., Oct. 10, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galectin Therapeutics (Nasdaq:GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin proteins to treat fibrosis and cancer, today announced that new preclinical data show its galectin inhibitors, GR-MD-02 and GM-CT-01, have significant therapeutic effects on fibrosis regression and cirrhosis reversal. Results were published in an article titled "Regression of Fibrosis and Reversal of Cirrhosis in Rats by Galectin Inhibitors in Thioacetamide-Induced Liver Disease" in PLOS ONE, an international, open-access journal with rigorous peer review. In the preclinical study, fibrosis was induced in rats by injecting thioacetamide (TAA) into the abdominal cavity. Rats were then treated with GR-MD-02 (galactoarabino-rhamnogalaturonan) or GM-CT-01 (galactomannan). In the initial part of the study, rats that completed eight weeks of thioacetamide injections were given four weeks of treatment with GR-MD-02; results showed an almost 50 percent reduction in collagen content, a marker of chronic fibrosis. Rats were then exposed to additional thioacetamide injections and developed extensive fibrosis (cirrhosis); treatment with four once weekly doses of GR-MD-02 or GM-CT-01 while continuing treatment with the toxin TAA led to marked reduction in fibrosis and reversal of cirrhosis. Overall, the study demonstrated that GR-MD-02 or GM-CT-01 led to significantly reduced fibrosis, reversal of cirrhosis and a significant reduction in portal hypertension. "These preclinical data suggest a potential role for GR-MD-02 and GM-CT-01 in the treatment of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis in humans," said Peter G. Traber, MD, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Galectin Therapeutics Inc. "There are currently no approved therapies for fibrosis. Encouraging data like these published in PLOS ONE increase the body of scientific knowledge of galectin inhibitors and add momentum to Galectin Therapeutics' development program. We recently announced that GR-MD-02 received Fast Track designation from the FDA for fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis." The preclinical study was conducted predominantly at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. The senior author, Dr. Scott Friedman of Mount Sinai, is an international expert in the pathogenesis and treatment of liver fibrosis. The PLOS ONE article can be found online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0075361 GM-CT-01 and GR-MD-02 are proprietary molecules, which are generated from naturally occurring carbohydrate polymers using proprietary processes, and possess the property of binding to and inhibiting galectin proteins, predominantly galectin-3. In July, the Company successfully dosed the first patient in a Phase 1 clinical trial of GR-MD-02 and enrollment is ongoing.