A new chemical compound was obtained in a test tube, and its main component is the trace element selenium.
“The role of this element is colossal,” explains the head of the laboratory of organochalcogen compounds, Doctor of Chemistry, Professor Vladimir Potapov. – In the human body there is a protector against premature aging of cells – this is the enzyme glutathione peroxidase. But the problem is that this is a selenium-dependent enzyme, there is no selenium, the antioxidant activity of the enzyme decreases.
According to the scientist, there is not much selenium in nature. In some regions of Russia, including the Angara region or, for example, in the north of China, there is even a critically small amount. And getting the required amount of this trace element with food is problematic.
The discovery of the glutathione peroxidase enzyme and its dependence on selenium occurred in the 1970s. Over time it has been proven that a lack of selenium in the body contributes to the development of cardiovascular, oncological, autoimmune and many other diseases. Since then, scientists around the world have attempted to synthesize organoselenium compounds. The Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry has been working on this issue for more than 20 years. Finally, a new class of selenium-containing compounds with high glutathione peroxidase-like activity was discovered.
After the laboratory testing stage was completed, the chemists continued their experiments at the Irkutsk Anti-Plague Research Institute of Siberia and the Far East and the Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry. The experiment was a success: laboratory mice that received the drug even in fairly high concentrations felt fine.
And then a new idea was born! The scientists decided to see how their substance affects the vaccine process. In particular, about the immune system and general indicators. It turned out that in mice given the synthesized drug, the immune system reacts more actively to a potential pathogen and generally mounts a reliable immune response. In this case, the burden on the organs of immunogenesis is reduced due to the antioxidant properties of the compound.
“We have a double-acting drug: it stimulates the immune system well and prevents the immune response from creating problems in the body,” concluded Maxim Musalov, lead researcher, Ph.D.
“Uncomplicated vaccination is a very important aspect in the modern world,” said Vladimir Potapov. “And a promising direction for further studies. The list of vaccines that should be given to a person at different stages of life and under different climatic conditions is very long.”
Experiments carried out at the Siberian Institute of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry also confirmed the claimed properties of the compound.
Research and experimentation continue. The connection is open, tested by chemists and biologists. Now the word for practical medicine. After all, the safety of the connection must be tested, both in animals and in volunteers.
By the way, many countries are actively searching for organoselenium compounds with glutathione peroxidase-like activity. There is even a registered drug that is used abroad for the treatment and prevention of strokes and heart attacks. But its cost is estimated in thousands of dollars.
Available raw materials and an efficient manufacturing method proposed by the Irkutsk chemists will make it possible to produce an affordable medicine.
Andrey Ivanov, Doctor of Chemistry, Director of the Irkutsk Chemical Institute. AE Favorsky Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
– We synthetic chemists create something that does not exist in nature. This work is based on long-term fundamental research. The compound of the Irkutsk scientists, perhaps in the future, will become a drug to prolong life.
Scientific work on a new selenium-containing compound is carried out entirely with state support, including a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research. The initial stage of development at the expense of the state is very important. This is a guarantee that the resulting drug will be available to everyone who needs it.
Read in full in the next issue of Rossiyskaya Gazeta.