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Study Finds Astaxanthin Is Potent Inhibitor of Oxidation in Cell Membrane Model

A just-published research study by Dr. R Preston Mason and colleagues at Elucida Research has determined that astaxanthin, a relatively //unknown carotenoid found in nature, shows significant promise as a viable scaffold for a new therapy to treat cardiovascular disease based on its exceptional antioxidant properties in membrane models.

Combined with published proof-of-concept, pre-clinical and anecdotal human data, the results of the Mason study (Differential effects of carotenoids on lipid peroxidation due to membrane interactions; xray diffraction analysis by McNulty et al.) signify that astaxanthin exhibits potential utility for use as the scaffold for antioxidant/anti-inflammatory agents in the treatment of cardiovascular and other chronic inflammatory diseases. An astaxanthin derivative may improve, or augment, the restoration of the cellular oxidation balance (i.e. redox status) of mitochondria and cell signaling pathways upstream from the point that produces activation of bioactive inflammatory mediators.

"These data clearly demonstrate a differentiation within the carotenoid class of medically promising antioxidants and provided, in part, the impetus for Cardax Pharmaceuticals to advance an astaxanthin-based derivative into an IND development program,” according to Fredric Pashkow, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the Company and former head of U.S. Medical Affairs for cardiovascular drugs at Sanofi-Aventis.

Pashkow also said that the work from Mason’s lab suggests astaxanthin could provide a platform for discovery of an entirely new class of safe, cardiovascular drugs. “These potent antioxidants may be the third big wave in the modern therapy for the secondary prevention of heart attack and stroke. In the heart, these agents probably will work by recalibrating the cellular oxidation balance in order to blunt the cell and tissue inflammatory response to injury and limit damage to the myocardium.”
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