A novel research finding from the investigators of Ohio State University said that if molecules are made out of combination of metals like copper with organic chemicals to make drugs, these will be affecting a wide range of diseases that are caused by virus.
Researchers have successfully tested such molecules against portions of HIV and Hepatitis C virus RNA in the laboratory. They've also created molecules that act like ACE, or angiotensin-converting enzyme, inhibitors - drugs that are used to lower blood pressure.
Presenting their findings at the American Chemical Society national meeting in Washington, DC, researchers from the study had described how the same patent-pending technology could one day produce novel anti-tumor agents. Drugs based on these molecules could produce fewer side effects compared to some of today's treatments, and they could also combat drug resistance.
Pharmaceutical companies tend to make drugs from the same limited set of ingredients, drawing upon only about a half-dozen of the more than 100 known chemical elements. At the same time, drug-resistant bacteria and viruses are emerging. The new molecules, called metal coordination complexes, mimic the activity of natural enzymes that break apart DNA, RNA, and proteins in the body.
Researchers had tailor-made different complexes to break apart portions of RNA that enable HIV and Hepatitis C viruses to function, as well as the ACE enzyme that constricts blood vessels in the body. In test tubes and in cell cultures of E. coli, the complexes targeted these particular RNA structures and enzymes and destroyed them.
The way the complexes work makes them different from most drugs.
Researchers hope that with proper tailoring to certain metabolic enzymes, these strategies could work against cancer. Even though these new complexes are partly made of metal, drugs based on them could potentially be less toxic to the body than conventional treatments. Metals can be toxic, but so can some organic molecules that are used as drugs, researchers have pointed out.