Keeping The Body's Repairman From Going Too Far

After an injury, the body repairs itself by knitting collagen strands into scar tissue. But sometimes it gets overzealous and makes too much. That can cause pain and disfigurement, immobilize joints, and damage internal organs, including the heart and lungs.

Boston-based Fibro-

med Inc. recently received an exclusive license from Thomas Jefferson University, a Philadelphia medical school, to make a gene-spliced compound for halting scarring. It blocks synthesis of collagen by binding to receptors on the surface of collagen-producing cells. Fibromed hopes to begin animal trials by the end of the year and start human trials in 18 months if it can get Food & Drug Administration approval. The compound might be used after surgery to limit scarring. Fibromed is also working on drugs that stop scarring by inhibiting an enzyme that restructures collagen molecules so that they can form dense layers of scar tissue.

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