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Synthetic triterpenoids are proving effective—and versatile

Much of the preclinical testing of triterpenoids
is currently done by Karen Liby, Ph.D., right, with
the guidance of Michael Sporn, M.D.

A family of drugs created at Dartmouth is proving to have far-reaching applications. Originally designed to prevent and treat cancer, synthetic triterpenoids—as the drugs are known—appear to be useful in treating chronic kidney disease, diabetes, age-related macular degeneration, pulmonary diseases, and even Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as various cancers. Their broad range of activity is due to their potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The drugs are being tested in humans by Reata Pharmaceuticals, based in Texas. However, much of the preclinical work has been and still is being conducted at Dartmouth, in the labs of Drs. Michael Sporn, Karen Liby, and Tadashi Honda. Dartmouth Medicine reported on the drugs' progress in the Winter 2006, Spring 2008, and Spring 2010 issues.

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