Engineers at Washington University have discovered a compound commonly found in green tea that could have lifesaving potential for patients with multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. These medical conditions are often incredibly complicated affecting the bodies plasma cells found in bone marrow that can have fatal outcomes.
Biomedical engineering researchers at the school of Engineering and Applied Science have been studying how proteins fold and shape themselves and how these processes can contribute to various diseases. The compound EGCG (epigallocatechine-3-gallte), a polyphenol found in green tea leaves is now thought to be of particular benefit to patients whose bodies cause protein to act abnormally. Patients diagnosed with amyloidosis or multiple myeloma are susceptible to developing light chain amyloidosis, where part of the body’s own antibodies begin to misshape and can ambulate within organs including the kidneys and the heart, the condition is frequently fatal.
Cures for light chain amyloidosis are something which have baffled scientists and medical engineers in the past but the new findings of how the EGCG affects specific proteins are causing some potential uplift in terms of advancement. Previously EGCG has been shown to effect both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in a positive manner by preventing dangerous build ups of protein present in both conditions. The bone marrow research has shown similar findings, the ECGC prevented the misshapen antibodies from replicating and acuminating.
In the presence of Green Tea, the chains have been found to have a different internal structure, the ECGC compound essentially pulls the light chain into a different form of aggregate that isn’t toxic and does not form potentially dangerous fibril structures that occur in organs once affected by amyloidosis. Researchers are building on their findings to further uncover the benefits of the compound and if these can be translated into medical engineering, while partnering developers at the University of Heidelberg are working in tandem with the researchers by running clinical trials at the Heidelberg Amyloidosis centre. The studies are currently at a foundation level studying the mechanism of the protein in a test tube meanwhile further studies into the proteins effect on Alzheimer’s disease are taking place in Berlin alongside Parkinson’s research in China.
The research was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and all are hoping this compound will in turn have exciting effects for patients and their recovery.