28.05.2013 - Researchers have presented new preclinical data on a mitochondria-protecting drug that could reduce tissue damage following heart attacks.
During a heart attack, the major vessels that supply the heart with blood become blocked, preventing oxygen from reaching an area of the heart tissue. When the patient reaches hospital, doctors remove the blockage using medicines or surgery and restore blood flow to the heart, however in almost 100% of cases, tissue damage occurs when blood flow is restored.
A team headed by Michael Murphy has now unravelled how the novel mitochondria-selective S-nitrosating agent, MitoSNO, protects the heart from oxidative damage, which occurs when blood flow is restored after infarction (Nature Medicine ). In a mouse model, they found that S-nitrosation of the mitochondrial complex I slows the reactivation of mitochondria during the crucial first minutes of the reperfusion of ischemic tissue, thereby decreasing ROS production, oxidative damage and tissue necrosis.
MitoSNO works by briefly ‘switching off’ the mitochondria in the first few minutes after blood flow is returned to prevent a build-up of free radicals that can kill heart cells through apoptosis. To achieve this, MitoSNO is designed to accumulate inside heart mitochondria rapidly after its injection into the blood. In detail, MitoSNO1-induced production of nitric oxide radicals reversibly inhibits respiration at cytochrome c oxidase and increased extracellular oxygen concentration under hypoxic conditions.
Dr Mike Murphy from the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, who led the study, said: “When cells are starved of oxygen for any length of time, they begin to shut down. When blood rushes back, the mitochondria go into over-drive, churning out free radicals that cause the cells to die. MitoSNO effectively flicks a switch in the mitochondria, slowing down reactivation during those critical first minutes when blood flow returns and protecting the heart tissue from further damage. The researchers now hope to secure funding to test their new compound in early human studies.
07.07.2015 Irish pharma play Allergan plc. is boosting its eye care business by acquiring US-American medtech company Oculeve. Included in the deal are Oculeve’s dry eye disease development programmes.
03.07.2015 Biotech giant Biogen is investing CHF1bn in a new pharmaceutical production plant in the Swiss town of Luterbach. Noted as one of the world’s oldest biotech firms, Biogen will create up to 400 jobs at the new plant.
02.07.2015 Dutch biotech Amarna and Austrian Biomarker research centre CBmed have joined forces to develop several immunotherapies, including therapies against cancer and diabetes type 2. The joint venture will develop Amarna’s next generation viral vector platform.
30.06.2015 Pharma giant Novartis has bumped up its neuroscience portfolio with the recent purchase of Australian biotech Spinifex for a US$200m upfront payment plus US$500 in milestone payments. The acquisition is centred on Spinifex’ mid-stage pain drug EMA401.
24.06.2015 Swedish scientists have created artificial neurons that are capable of mimicking the function of human nerve cells. The researchers hope that, once minituarised, they may one day be used to restore disturbed neural function.
22.06.2015 For the 31st time, the ACHEMA has drawn the global chemical engineering and the process industry to Frankfurt. Although still overshadowed by petrol, the biobased economy is getting ready to step out into the limelight.