New molecule could lead to new cancer therapies

2 October 2014

Oxygen helps the body create energy for its cells, and respiration results in reactive molecules called “free radicals”. These are often cause damage to proteins and genes found in cells, which is known as oxidative stress. 

Free radicals have also been linked to other diseases, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers at the University of Missouri (MU) have revealed a mole that can treat 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 neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s,” said Mark Hannink, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and an investigator at the Bond Life Sciences Center at MU. 

Dr Hannink aimed to find the right combinations of molecules to create an effective drug, which could attack free radicals. Using tools developed in his lab, Hannink and Kim Jasmer, a graduate student in Hannink’s lab, analysed a group of molecules and identified a particular compound, known as HPP-4382. This has proven to be effective in fighting oxidative stress and could eventually be developed into a drug. 

The research was published in PLOS One.

Posted by Jeanette Royston​


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