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New Treatments for Gallstones on Horizon

Experimental compound prevented disease in mice, researchers report

TUESDAY, Nov. 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Potential new treatments for gallstones may result from research being done by scientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Chevy Chase, Md.

They found that an experimental compound called GW4064 prevents gallstone disease in mice. It does this by stimulating the biochemical pathway that controls the liver's secretion of bile acid.

"What we saw was remarkable. After just five to seven days of treatment, these animals, which were on a diet that would normally produce cholesterol gallstone disease, showed no trace of the disease," research leader David J. Mangelsdorf said in a prepared statement.

The findings appear in the Nov. 21 issue of Nature Medicine.

This research may help in the development of new drugs to prevent gallstones and tests to identify people with a genetically increased risk of developing gallstones, the scientists said.

More information

The American Liver Foundation has more about gallstones.

SOURCE: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, news release, Nov. 22, 2004
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