The International Journal of Molecular Medicine has published a preclinical study led by Prof. Rifaat Safadi, head of the Hadassah Medical Center’s Liver Unit, that finds the oral drug Namodenoson induced significant anti-inflammatory, anti-steatotic (retention of lipids), and anti-fibrotic (scarring) effects caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

The research team identified the mechanism by which the treatment proved effective, explaining that the drug targets the overexpression of the A3 adenosine receptor. Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd, which developed the drug, explains that the A3 adenosine receptor is highly expressed in diseased cells, but not in normal cells, which accounts for the excellent safety profile of Namodenoson.

The comprehensive study tested the effects of Namodenoson on two different NASH mice models and on a cell line of human liver cells that resemble the metabolic phenotype observed in NASH patients.

Prof. Safadi is now conducting a Phase II study with Namodenoson in NASH and NAFLD patients who show evidence of active inflammation. The focus is on measuring the drug’s anti-inflammatory effect and its success in reducing fat in the liver.

Prof. Safadi reports that “the growing amount of data showing Namodenoson’s liver protective properties is highly encouraging as the Phase II clinical study in NASH nears completion. Namodenoson can potentially serve a clear and unmet need, since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a drug specifically to treat NAFLD and NASH. We are pleased to work with Can-Fite on this pre-clinical study and hope to show similar data in human patients.”