Better detection for Alzheimer’s and cancers

A new chemical discovery will lead to better monitoring and treatment for cancers and degenerative diseases, according to latest research by scientists.

In a paper published today in ChemComm an international team of researchers from the Universities of Bath, Birmingham and the East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai outline a new approach to detecting ‘reactive oxygen’ using fluorescence.

Reactive oxygen, which includes peroxides or oxygen ions, causes cell damage and degeneration in the body and its presence in high doses can be a sign of diseases such as Alzheimer’s or cancers. The importance of reactive oxygen has led researchers to find new approaches for its quick and simple detection.

This latest research paves the way for new systems to detect changes in reactive oxygen levels which could help target interventions. Mapped using fluorescent imaging, the concentration of reactive oxygen in cells and tissue would light up which will help better understand and monitor disease development and intervention. Using fluorescence probes it will be possible to perform whole body imaging, making it is possible to monitor insitu tumour development in real-time.

Professor Tony James from our Department of Chemistry commented: “I am very excited by these new results which have pointed our research in an unexpected yet truly rewarding direction. This work uses ‘simple’ molecules which are capable of helping doctors understand and diagnose ‘difficult’ diseases.”

This latest paper has been supported by the Catalysis and Sensing for our Environment (CASE) network between researchers at the Universities of Bath, Birmingham and Shanghai.

Dr John Fossey from the University of Birmingham added: "This most recent project has taken the international CASE consortium in a different and exciting direction. Developing a new sensing model based on reactive oxygen has many useful applications in diagnosing and detecting disease."

The latest paper about reactive oxygen is just one of two articles from the CASE network published in this month’s ChemComm. The other paper focuses on new sensing systems to measure the purity of molecules which may have important applications in drug development.

For more see ‘International CASE collaboration delivers two major publications’.

To download the research papers see:

“Integrated” and “insulated” boronate-based fluorescent probes for the detection of hydrogen peroxide - http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2013/CC/c3cc43265c

Colorimetric enantioselective recognition of chiral secondary alcohols via hydrogen bonding to a chiral metallocene containing chemosensor - http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2013/CC/c3cc43083a

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