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Natural product discovery by Cleveland medical researchers blocks tissue destruction
Date:10/24/2007

CLEVELAND Scientists at Case Western Reserve Universitys School of Medicine have published in the Journal of Inflammation a remarkable discovery with a natural product derived from the Amazon rainforest. The discoverys unique actions suggest a broad set of applications in various joint, skin and gastrointestinal diseases, including osteoarthritis and irritable bowel syndrome.

The publication revealed that Progrado, an extract from a rainforest tree called Croton palanostigma, was a remarkably potent antioxidant and prevented the destruction of human cartilage by molecular s scissors called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). According to the researchers, these enzymes cut collagen, which forms the backbone of the cartilage, into tiny pieces during states of inflammation and alter the fabric that holds tissues together.

This is an exciting finding, said Tariq Haqqi, professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals of Cleveland and the lead investigator and senior author of the study. This is the first time a natural product has been shown to directly block these molecular scissors while showing potential to stimulate repair. This is a testament to the wound healing properties of this traditional medicine and the distinctive therapeutic opportunities that nature offers.

Haqqis research partner, Rainforest Nutritionals Inc., of Raleigh, N.C., develops innovative therapeutics from natural products and worked with the university on the discovery of Progrado.

Rainforest Nutritionals, along with Haqqi, also developed Reparagen, a natural product for joint health, with a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which also awarded the company with an Innovation Research Award to foster Reparagens development and commercialization.

Paul Bobrowski, co-author of the study and vice president of Rainforest Nutritionals, said Progrados molecular targets are highly prized and could lead to a range of therap
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Contact: Laura M. Massie
laura.massie@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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