Towards Regenerative Medicine for Atherosclerosis
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An update on the LysoSENS research project from the SENS Foundation, which aims to discover and adapt bacterial enzymes to break down the damaging buildup of unwanted metabolic byproducts in the aging body: "SENS Foundation-funded research shows that expression of a modified microbial enzyme protects human cells against 7-ketocholesterol toxicity, advancing research toward remediation of the foam cell and rejuvenation of the atherosclerotic artery. ... Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease, making it the root of the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Atherosclerosis begins with the entrapment and oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the arterial endothelium. As a protective response, the endothelium recruits blood monocytes into the arterial wall, which differentiate and mature into active macrophages and engulf toxic oxidized cholesterol products (oxysterols) such as 7-ketocholesterol (7-KC). Although initially protective, this response ultimately leads to atherosclerotic plaque: oxidized cholesterol products accumulate in the macrophage lysosome, and impair the processing and trafficking of native cholesterol and other materials, leading macrophages to become dysfunctional and immobilized ... more and more of these disabled "foam cells" progressively accumulate in the arterial wall, generating the fatty streaks that form the basis of the atherosclerotic lesion. Rejuvenation biotechnology can be brought to bear against this disease of aging through the identification, modification, and therapeutic delivery of novel lysosomal enzymes derived from microbes to the arterial macrophage - enzymes which are capable of degrading oxidized cholesterol products. SENS Foundation-funded researchers have been making steady progress in the identification and characterization of candidate enzymes for several years now, and a new report represents a substantial advance in the research: the rescue of cellular oxysterol toxicity by an introduced microbial lysosomal enzyme."

Link: http://sens.org/node/2737

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