New Therapy for Hypothyroidism Proves Successful in Lab Test

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Researchers at Rush University Medical Center developed an innovative technique to supplement the standard therapy for hypothyroidism through ‘metal-coordinated’ drug-delivery system.

Hypothyroidism affects about 10 million Americans annually, according to results of a study published in the journal Thyroid on October 2018. Researchers have been searching for an alternative treatment for hypothyroid patients, those who do not find the standard therapy effective or cannot respond to those therapies. The researchers at Rush University successfully developed a metal-coordinated molecule, which has potential to be more effective therapy for all hypothyroid patients. The research work was published in the journal Thyroid.

Dr. Antonio Bianco, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago and former researcher and clinician at Rush University, said, “The new drug, poly-zinc-liothyronine (PZL), worked well in laboratory studies. Safety tests in animals and clinical trials in humans must still be conducted, and funding must be obtained to support that work. If all goes well, though, PZL could be offered to patients in only a few years.”

Hypothyroidism can be caused due to exposure of other diseases environmental toxins, medical treatments such as radiation, and genetics. The standard treatment for hypothyroidism is levothyroxine (L-T4), a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4), which in a healthy person is secreted by the thyroid gland. However, about 10 to 15 percent of hypothyroidism patients respond poorly to standard treatment.

The researchers examined the laboratory rats with created hypothyroid conditions combination therapy of L-T4, plus liothyronine (L-T3), the synthetic form of the more active thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3). They coated the drug with metal and packaged it in a capsule so that it could travel intact through the stomach to the duodenum. The researchers are hopeful that PZL could be used in combination therapy to improve the sign and symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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