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Chronic liver disease is a growing concern that affects millions.
Chronic liver disease is progressive - it goes through stages that are increasingly severe. Key to the disease are the so-called stellate cells. These cells are part of the healthy liver but become activated when the liver is injured, for example due to viral hepatitis. Once activated, the stellate cells deposit fibrous tissue throughout the liver. The liver may eventually become so riddled with fibrotic tissue that it is beyond repair. This end stage of liver disease often has fatal consequence.
Activated hepatic stellate cells can be calmed down by potent substances called kinase inhibitors. For optimal effect however, these inhibitors must be selectively shuttled to the activated cells. Because activated stellate cells express very specific molecules, this shuttling can be achieved by conjugates that consist of an inhibitor and a selective carrier molecule. For the creation of these conjugates, the Lx® Linker is exquisitely suitable. In fact, initial studies have shown that such Lx®-based conjugates effectively calm down stellate cells, and may alleviate the disease.
We are setting up a pipeline of Lx®-based products for the treatment of the various stages of liver disease. We have developed highly optimized carrier molecules that will efficiently shuttle the inhibitors to the activated stellate cells. In these innovative projects, funded by several innovation grants, we closely collaborate with top tier academic research groups.