New Australian sugar compound could prevent heart disease

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th December 2011

Scientific researchers have formulated a new type of sugar that might help prevent heart disease, according to latest research from The University of Melbourne, in Australia.

Dr Corin Storkey and Professor Carl Schiesser from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Free Radical Chemistry and Biotechnology at The University of Melbourne, together with Professor Michael Davies from the Heart Research Institute, in Sydney, have formulated promising heart disease preventatives based on sugar and selenium.

Their findings have been published in The Royal Society of Chemistry journal, Chemical Communications, while the compounds themselves have been filed under an international patent with the hope of future clinical use.

Professor Schiesser said that the seleno-sugar compounds work by scavenging hypohalous acids, a group of highly reactive chemicals that can damage tissues when produced in the wrong place, at the wrong time or at excessive levels. One predictor of future heart disease in patients is the raised level of the enzyme that produces these hypohalous acids.

The group discovered their seleno-sugar compounds are able to prevent hypohalous acids from damaging important amino acids in human plasma, a key step in stopping the development of disease. They are now working to optimise their compounds for pharmaceutical use.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics earlier this year, heart disease was the leading cause of death in Australia in 2009, accounting for 16 per cent of all deaths and more than car accidents, HIV and cancer combined.