NORCROSS, Ga., Dec. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Galectin Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq:GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin proteins to treat fibrosis and cancer, today announced that new preclinical data show its leading galectin-inhibiting drugs – GR-MD-02 and GM-CT-01 – demonstrate positive therapeutic effects on nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, or fatty liver disease) with fibrosis. Results were published in an article titled "Therapy of Experimental NASH and Fibrosis with Galectin Inhibitors" in the peer-reviewed, open-access journal PLOS ONE. In the study, NASH-induced mice were treated with GM-CT-01 and GR-MD-02 at two different points – early fibrosis and later more severe fibrosis. The studies evaluated twice-weekly, dose escalation of once weekly by intravenous administration, as well as evaluated different routes of administration including intravenous, subcutaneous and oral. Results revealed that treatment with GR-MD-02 significantly improved NASH activity and reduced fibrosis including prevention of accumulation of collagen and/or reduced accumulated collagen in the liver. Similar effects were seen with GM-CT-01 but with approximately four-fold lower potency than GR-MD-02. The data also show reduction in galectin-3 expression and other inflammatory biomarkers. The PLOS ONE article can be found online at http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083481 "There are currently no approved treatments for fatty liver disease with fibrosis, a major health problem in the United States. These preclinical findings add to our scientific understanding of the role galectin inhibitors play in the treatment of fatty liver disease," said Peter G. Traber, M.D., Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Medical Officer, Galectin Therapeutics. "The results support our current Phase 1 clinical trial of GR-MD-02 and our long-term development programs for GM-CT-01 and GR-MD-02." GM-CT-01 and GR-MD-02 are proprietary molecules that bind to and inhibit galectin proteins, predominantly galectin-3. Six of eight patients have been enrolled and infused in cohort 1 of a blinded Phase 1 clinical trial of GR-MD-02 for patients with NASH with advanced fibrosis. Enrollment continues and no serious adverse events have been reported. The Phase 1 first-in-man study is evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and exploratory biomarkers for efficacy for single and multiple doses of GR-MD-02 when administered to patients with fatty liver disease with advanced fibrosis. Clinical data from the first cohort is expected early in 2014.