Excessive reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI) in an organism — leading to generation of free radicals — damages cells and tissues, resulting in such illnesses as chronic arthritis, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and liver and lung cancer.
Natalia Bizunok — a Doctor of Medical Sciences and the Head of the Belarusian State Medical University’s Pharmacology Department — has spent years seeking treatments and believes she has succeeded. A new range of drugs has been developed and it’s even possible to calculate the effect of raising drug dosage. Her publication in the Open Journal of Clinical Diagnostics has led to Ms. Bizunok being awarded a Presidential scholarship for talented scientists and a position as the magazine’s editor-in-chief.
It was previously believed that ROI formation was a negative process, needing suppression. However, Ms. Bizunok explains, “It’s been conclusively established that ROIs play a major role in our body, ensuring normal inter-cell and in-cell signalling and communication. Levels vary across tissues and these need to be sustained. When an excess of ROIs is registered, the situation can change for the worse, resulting in various pathologies.”
Although the human body has its own mechanism of protection, it is yet to evolve to new environmental conditions, such as polluted air. Also, unhealthy foods and bad habits worsen the situation and our anti-oxidant protection (with which we are born) fails to cope.
Scientists at the Belarusian State Medical University believe that ROI production is purposeful in the body, and takes place with the participation of Nox2. Ms. Bizunok tells us, “Our task has been to learn how to manage its activity — increasing or decreasing levels as necessary. We now know how to achieve this, having discovered substances and approaches to change fermenting activity. Our research is being used to develop new drugs which go beyond regulating ROI.”
Groceprol boasts analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, while Neiramin is a neuro-modulator used for treating depression and neurosis. Tetracard and Inocardin are auxiliary aids for treating atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease, while Valicar enhances physical strength, and Leiargunal boosts immunity.
All over the world, drug combinations are being developed, with pharmaceutical companies realizing that combinations of two or three substances may not only enhance their effect but achieve a new result. In Belarus, drug cocktails have been developed by chemists, bio-chemists, pharmacologists, toxicologists and doctors, through a state programme aimed at developing new drugs.
The globally acknowledged theory is that increasing the dose of a medicine can strengthen results at great speed. Scientists from the Belarusian State Medical University have been forging new paths, as Ms. Bizunok explains. She tells us, “In the past, it was thought that a biologically active combination of drugs would influence only one target (a receptor or a ferment) to generate a certain effect. Our studies have proven that the process is much more complicated, relying on interaction with several targets. As the dosage increases, more targets are added. So, the pharmacological effect depends on inte-raction and inter-influence.”
This knowledge is helping develop new drugs, assessing their efficiency and safety, and finding the best combinations. Research is being applied with bright results.
By Yulia Vasilevskaya