New Results from SENSF-Funded Research Published

Posted by Daniel Kimbel on September 11, 2012 | Outreach

This month, a paper reporting results from the LysoSENS project that SENS Foundation funds at Rice University will be published in the printed edition of Biotechnology and Bioengineering. (The paper is already available online.) The research that produced these results was primarily performed by Dr. Jacques Mathieu in the lab of Dr. Pedro Alvarez, in Rice University’s Department of Environmental Engineering. The project has focused on identifying enzymes that can degrade or modify 7-ketocholesterol (7KC) in the lysosomal environment. Because the cytotoxic effects of 7KC on the lysosomes of macrophages and foam cells are a root cause of atherosclerosis, such enzymes could ultimately be used in vivo as a new class of regenerative therapies to prevent and reverse heart disease.

The paper, which we analyze in detail on SENS Foundation’s website here, is a significant advance in the science of LysoSENS. In previous studies, research funded by the Foundation has identified enzymes that can degrade 7KC in isolation from the cellular and lysosomal environment. The publication of this latest study marks the first time that an introduced microbial enzyme has been used inside living cells, and been shown to protect them against oxysterol-based cytotoxicity.

The success of the approach employed by the team at Rice makes this enzyme, Chromobacterium sp. DS1 cholesterol oxidase, an important step toward a true rejuvenation biotechnology -- a therapy that can target and repair damage that underlies the diseases and disabilities of the aging process. SENS Foundation is pleased to continue backing Dr. Mathieu's research, so that further work can move us closer to making such treatments a reality.