Galectins and Disease Implications for Targeted Therapeutics (BOK)
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Symposium 'Galectin Function and Therapeutics', which took place from September 17-19, 2012 in Boston, has had an important mission: to show the participants and the world where we stand with understanding galectins and their functions and the direct applications of galectin management in practical medicine. This is a very complex and challenging issue. As is shown in Chapter 1, there are more than 3900 articles on galectins; on their structure and functions, published in academic literature since the middle of the 1990's. Most of these papers came from academia. As a result, we have a very advanced science on galectins, 15 of which were identified; on their chemical structure, interactions of galectins with their ligands of both carbohydrate and peptide nature, (alleged) mechanisms of their intracellular and intercellular operations, interception of various biochemical processes, their expression and regulatory effects of the expression, etc. Significant amounts of work have been done with experimental animals, including knockout gal(-/-) mice, as well on effects of galectins and their inhibitors on experimental pathologies in mice, rats, dogs, monkeys. In a few instances galectin inhibitors (galectin blockers) are being tested in human clinical trials, or will be tested soon. It all sounds very encouraging. However, a bird>'s eye view at these vast research areas reveals a somewhat troubling, though not an unusual pattern. An observant eye will notice that the galectin-related field of science, which is essentially biomedical science, consists of four largely disconnected areas. They are connected by only one feature-galectins themselves, which is the main object of attention for the researchers.