Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mouthwash to Fight Cancer?

21.03.2013
Oral disinfectants induce apoptosis in human oral tumor cells

Patients who suffer from gingivitis are often advised to use disinfectant mouthwashes. In the future, the active ingredients in these products could be used in a completely different area: As scientists have reported in the journal Angewandte Chemie, Chlorhexidin and Alexidin increase programmed cell death and may be effective against cancers of the mouth and throat.

Sometimes researchers discover that established drugs have other effects in addition to those for which they were actually approved. For example acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin) has commonly been used to treat pain and fever; more recently, however, it has also been prescribed to thrombosis-prone patients as a blood thinner.

A team headed by Thorsten Berg is now convinced that many low-molecular drugs already in use demonstrate previously unrecognized activity toward interactions between proteins, which may be of therapeutic use.

The team of scientists from the University of Leipzig, the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry, the Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich, the Helmholtz Center Munich, the Technical University Munich, and the ETH Zurich were out to use a protein–protein interaction relevant for human health to demonstrate the interactions between two proteins whose interaction controls apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Both proteins are from the same protein family. The first protein, Bad, initiates apoptosis-promoting protein to inhibit it.

The researchers proceeded to screen a collection of over 4000 substances known as a compound library. The majority of the compounds in the library are small molecules in clinical use. Binding experiments were used to determine which of the substances inhibit the binding of the two target proteins. To determine the specificity of the "hits", their effects on other protein–protein interactions were also tested.

Berg and his co-workers were successful: Chlorhexidin, the active component in commercial oral disinfectants such as Chlorhexamed, Chlorhexal, Periogard, Corsodyl, and Chlorohex; as well as Alexidin, the active component in Esemdent, both inhibit the binding of the apoptosis inhibitor to the apoptosis trigger. Chlorhexidin's effect is specific, while Alexidin has additional very weak effects on other proteins.

Why are apoptosis proteins interesting? Apoptosis is decreased in tumor cells, so the cells do not die off and continue to divide. One reason for this is that they produce too much of the apoptosis-inhibiting protein. In experiments with cultures of cells from various tongue and throat carcinomas, both compounds caused increased apoptosis. This effect is much stronger in the cancer cells than in healthy cells. It may be possible to use these drugs in therapeutic applications.

The researchers hope to find other protein-protein interactions that could be targeted with approved small-molecule drugs.

About the Author
Dr. Thorsten Berg is Professor for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology at the University of Leipzig. His research is focused on the development of new concepts for modulating protein protein interactions by small organic molecules. To do so, his research group utilizes an interdisciplinary approach based on chemical and biological methods.
Author: Thorsten Berg, Universität Leipzig (Germany), http://www.uni-leipzig.de/%7etberg/
Title: Oral Disinfectants Inhibit Protein–Protein Interactions Mediated by the Anti-Apoptotic Protein Bcl-xL and Induce Apoptosis in Human Oral Tumor Cells

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201208889

Thorsten Berg | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://www.uni-leipzig.de/%7etberg/
http://pressroom.angewandte.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Algorithms Offer Insight into Cellular Development
31.08.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cancer: Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia
31.08.2016 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Virtual Reality: 3D Human Body Reconstruction from Fraunhofer HHI digitizes Human Beings

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI have developed a method by which the realistic image of a person can be transmitted into a virtual world. The 3D Human Body Reconstruction Technology captures real persons with multiple cameras at the same time and creates naturally moving dynamic 3D models. At this year’s trade fairs IFA in Berlin (Hall 11.1, Booth 3) and IBC in Amsterdam (Hall 8, Booth B80) Fraunhofer HHI will show this new technology.

Fraunhofer HHI researchers have developed a camera system that films people with a perfect three-dimensional impression. The core of this system is a stereo...

Im Focus: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cancer: Molecularly shutting down cancer cachexia

31.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Robust fuel cell heating unit developed

31.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Algorithms Offer Insight into Cellular Development

31.08.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>