Good news for our medicine! A group of USP researchers has managed to develop a less aggressive enzyme that will make a big difference for patients with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL).
The enzyme asparaginase is already the basis for drugs that treat ALL. However, it causes some very aggressive side effects, leaving the patient quite debilitated.
The group then reformulated the composition of the enzyme and created a version of asparaginase that does not harm the immune system of patients with the disease so much. The study was published in the journal Science Direct.
For professor Gisele Monteiro, the FCF Biochemical-Pharmaceutical Technology Department, this new version of asparaginase will make a lot of difference in treatments now on.
She explains that, although effective, medications for the treatment of ALL can cause effects that irritate the immune system. "In some cases, they can cause anaphylactic shock or need to stop using it in treatment," she says.
With the new enzyme, treatment is facilitated, especially in younger patients.
In addition to helping with the treatment, Gisele points out that the new enzyme will also allow the manufacture of cheaper drugs and, consequently, more accessible to the large population.
Today, according to data USP, the treatment against ALL is effective in 90% of the cases, but the rate of abandonment - often due to the lack of medication in the SUS - compromises the cure and can lead the patient to death.
Gisele says that in Brazil alone, we have about 10,000 cases of treatment abandonment per year.
The initiative coordinated by Professor Gisele involved researchers the University of Campinas (Unicamp), Universidade Estadual Paulista (Unesp) and USP's Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICB). The beginning was in 2014 and the publication last year.