Tuesday October 23, 2018

Anti-smoking drug from nicotine-eating bacteria: Study

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New York: A bacterium that consumes nicotine may help scientists develop a powerful anti-smoking drug, says a study. 

The researchers found that the bacterial enzyme can be recreated in lab settings and possesses a number of promising characteristics for drug development.

“Our research is in the early phase of drug development process, but the study tells us the enzyme has the right properties to eventually become a successful therapeutic,” said one of the researchers Kim Janda, professor of chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in California.

The new research offers a possible alternative to current smoking cessation aids, which are shown to fail in at least 80 to 90 percent of smokers.

The idea behind an enzyme therapy would be to seek out and destroy nicotine before it reaches the brain — depriving a person of the “reward” of nicotine that can trigger relapse into smoking.

For more than 30 years, Janda and his colleagues have struggled to create such an enzyme in the lab, but they recently ran across a potential enzyme found in nature — NicA2 from the bacteria known as Pseudomonas putida.

It turns out this bacterium — originally isolated from soil in a tobacco field — consumes nicotine as its sole source of carbon and nitrogen.

In the new study, the researchers characterized the bacterial enzyme responsible for nicotine degradation and tested its potential usefulness as a therapeutic.

Importantly, the researchers detected no toxic metabolites produced when the enzyme degraded nicotine in the lab.

“The enzyme is also relatively stable in serum, which is important for a therapeutic candidate,” study first author Song Xue, graduate student at TSRI, said.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

(IANS)

 

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Anaemia Drug Can Aid in Recovery After Heart Attack

However, further studies will be needed to confirm if the same benefits are seen in humans, they noted

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Heart Disease
Concern has often focused on the toxicity or carcinogenic properties of the metals, particularly at high doses. Pixabay

Drugs currently undergoing development to treat anaemia — lack of blood — could be repurposed to help prevent people with Type-2 diabetes from developing heart failure, according to a new research.

Researchers found that after a heart attack, a protein called HIF acts to help heart cells survive.

In people with diabetes, fats accumulate within the heart muscle and stop the HIF protein from becoming active. This means that a person is more likely to suffer lasting heart muscle damage, and develop heart failure after a heart attack.

“After a heart attack, people with Type-2 diabetes are more likely to develop heart failure more quickly, but we have not fully understood the reasons why that is the case,” said lead researcher Lisa Heather, research student at the University of Oxford in the UK.

“What we have shown with this research is that the metabolism of people with Type-2 diabetes means they have higher levels of fatty acids in the heart. This prevents signals going to the heart protective protein telling it to ‘kick-in’ after a heart attack,” she added.

Representational image.
Representational image. (IANS)

In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team treated diabetic rats with a drug known to activate the HIF protein, and were able to encourage the heart to recover after a heart attack.

However, these initial results suggest that several drugs known to activate HIF and currently undergoing phase-III clinical trials to treat people with anaemia, could potentially be given to people with diabetes, immediately after a heart attack in the future, the researchers said.

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“This research in rats has not only identified the mechanism that could explain why people with Type-2 diabetes have poorer outcomes after a heart attack, but also a practical way this might be prevented,” the researchers explained.

However, further studies will be needed to confirm if the same benefits are seen in humans, they noted. (IANS)

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