Oxidative stress is expected to be the underlying cause of an
increasing number of diseases as the world's demographic patterns
shift and its population ages. This will particularly be the case
in developed countries, such as Japan and Europe, with the most
pronounced ageing trends.
These trends are expected to lead to an epidemic progression of
chronic diseases, especially cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and
metabolic disorders as well as age-associated degenerative
diseases, often attributed to an increase in oxidative stress. The
oxidative agents acting in many of these diseases can cause direct
tissue damage as well as disabling the endogenous self-repair
mechanisms in DNA, cells and tissues.
Prevention of the primary or secondary tissue damage caused by
oxidative stress is therefore anticipated to become an increasing
therapeutic need and there will be major opportunities for new,
cost-effective drugs that can prevent or even reverse the
tissue-damage caused by oxidative stress.
Aquapharm has observed empirically that many of its marine
micro-organisms are prolific producers of a wide-range anti-oxidant
compounds. These are believed to be part of a sophisticated defence
mechanism evolved to fend off biological and environmental
Aquapharm has used its knowledge of marine microbe culturing and
induction to access the full range of such chemistry to exploit the
rich evolutionary legacy of the oceans.
A novel approach
Antioxidant defences produced within cells (e.g. glutathione,
glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, catalase) and
supplemented by specific compounds taken in through the diet (e.g.
vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids) can block the damaging effects of
oxidative stress caused by DNA damage, lipid and protein
Although it's widely accepted that the mode of action of some
diet-derived antioxidants is through direct quenching of free
radicals (e.g. highly bioavailable vitamins) this cannot be the
case for those antioxidants that have poor bioavailability (e.g.
flavonoids) when orally ingested; a characteristic often missed by
manyin vitrostudies such as ORAC.
Aquapharm is therefore focussed on discovering small molecules
which switch on and amplify cells' endogenous anti-oxidant defence
mechanisms, in particular, modulators of the anti-oxidant response
element (ARE) cascade targetting the nuclear factor
(erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 protein ( Nrf2). This opens up the
possibility of developing therapeutics with a wide range of
cyto-protective effects relevant to many chronic and degenerative
diseases including metabolic, cardiovascular and CNS.