Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chemists turn killer gas into medical cure

fascinating stuff...

the stunning stuff is in the fifth paragragh when they start taking about "refining the design of the molecules

SHEFFIELD, England, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- British scientists have developed a technology that uses small amounts of carbon monoxide to help people undergoing heart surgery or organ transplants.

Despite its deadly reputation, carbon monoxide can boost the health of such patients, as well as people suffering from high blood pressure, by reducing inflammation and increasing blood flow.

The problem has been in how to safely deliver the correct amount of CO into the body.

University of Sheffield researchers have developed water-soluble molecules that, when swallowed or injected, safely release small amounts of CO inside the body.

"The molecules dissolve in water, so they can be made available in an easy-to-ingest, liquid form that quickly passes into the bloodstream," said Professor Brian Mann, who led the research. "As well as making it simple to control how much CO is introduced into a patient's body, it will be possible to refine the design of the molecules so that they target a particular place while leaving the rest of the body unaffected."

The new CO-releasing molecules were developed in partnership with Dr. Roberto Motterlini at the Northwick Park Institute for Medical Research and with funding from Britain's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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