Modulation of galectin-glycan interactions in inflammatory and neoplastic intestinal pathologies

The researcher explained what galectins are and how they influence some intestinal diseases.

Alejandro Cagnoni, doctor in chemical sciences and specialist in organic and biological chemistry, gave a seminar on May 5 for the members of the Center for Research in Bionanosciences (CIBION).

The title of the seminar was: "Modulation of galectin-glycan interactions in inflammatory and neoplastic intestinal pathologies. Design of selective inhibitors, functionality and therapeutic relevance."

The scientist stated that inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease, constitute a major public health problem, affecting 10-200 per 100,000 individuals. In addition, to the change in the quality of life of the patient, as a consequence of chronic intestinal inflammation, it has been reported that the intestinal inflammatory environment increases the risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC), the second most frequent type of cancer in the world.

"The glycome, a group of glycans present on the cell surface, is altered in numerous diseases, including conditions of intestinal inflammation and the development of colorectal cancer, but the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases have not yet been fully elucidated”, he explained. Galectins, lectins that interpret the glycome, play important immunoregulatory roles in the development of these pathologies, which is why they are extremely interesting therapeutic targets.

In addition, Cagnoni explained: "In our work we focused on Galectin-1 (Gal-1) and Galectin-4 (Gal-4), two endogenous galectins with antagonistic functional properties, predominantly anti- and pro-inflammatory, respectively”.

“Through an interdisciplinary approach with approaches from chemistry, glycobiology and biomedicine, we study the relevance of Gal-1 and Gal-4 in the development of intestinal inflammation and the consequent neoplastic development, with the aim of designing new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of these diseases”, he closed.


About the speaker

Alejandro Cagoni is PhD in Chemical Sciences (UBA) and Associate Researcher at CONICET (Laboratory of Functional and Molecular Glycomics, Institute of Biology and Experimental Medicine). He is a specialist in organic and biological chemistry.