Washington: Investigators at the University of Missouri, US have discovered a molecule that treats oxidative stress, long thought of as an underlying cause of some of the most insidious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Every day, our bodies are exposed to harmful free radicals known as reactive oxygen species as a result of our environment.
But when something goes wrong with the energy extraction process, cells become inundated with reactive oxygen compounds that cause oxidative stress.
"Oxidative stress can cause damage to the building blocks of a cell, resulting in excessive cell proliferation in the case of cancer or cell death in the case of neuro-degenerative diseases like Parkinson's," said Mark Hannink, professor in the department of biochemistry and an investigator at the Bond Life Sciences Centre at the University of Missouri.
"We found the right molecule that corrects the imbalance of oxidative stress and could one day have wide applicability. Because of this study, we have a better understanding of what these compounds are doing to counteract oxidative stress," added Hannink.
The team has identified a particular compound, known as HPP-4382 that has proved effective in fighting oxidative stress and could eventually be developed into a drug.
Using tools developed in his lab, Hannink and Kim Jasmer, a graduate student in Hannink's lab, analyzed a group of molecules, developed by High Point Pharmaceuticals LLC, a north Carolina-based firm, that could be good candidates for treating oxidative stress.
The study appeared in the journal PLOS One.