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Deuterium Depletion: a new concept in anticancer drug development

The 1st International Symposium on Deuterium Depletion will be held on 13–14 May 2010 in Budapest, Hungary, and will enable researchers and medical practitioners to get acquainted with deuterium depletion, a novel tool of submolecular medicine.

HYD LLC develops pharmaceutical and consumer products based on the recognition that naturally occurring deuterium has a central role in the regulation of molecular mechanisms in living organisms. Deuterium depletion is an original approach to inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the body and to influencing other physiological processes, such as glucose metabolism.

Recently, the pharmacological industry has started to develop and commercialize deuterium-containing medicines. Because deuterium (the stable and non-radiating isotope of hydrogen) is heavier than hydrogen, it forms stronger chemical bonds. Strategic replacement of hydrogen atoms in therapeutics with deuterium could positively influence efficacy and side-effect profiles of drugs.

In the early 1990s, Hungarian molecular biologist Gabor Somlyai recognized that the shortage of deuterium can cause notable changes in cell processes. The most important outcome of this research, carried out with deuterium-depleted water, was that tumour cells proved to be extremely sensitive to the withdrawal of deuterium.

There is conclusive evidence that the application of deuterium-depleted water causes a delay in the cell growth of tumour cells in tissue culture. In animal experiments, deuterium-depleted water slowed down, halted or reversed the growth of tumours originating from malignant (neoplastic) cell lines of human origin, in immunosuppressed mice and spontaneous tumours of cats and dogs.

The first anticancer drug based on deuterium depletion was registered for the treatment of household pets in 1999; it verified an efficacy of 70%–80% in veterinary practice. Recent results show that the depletion of deuterium induces changes in the expression of genes, which play an already recognized part in the pathology of most cancer types.

In 2010, HYD plans to start a phase II clinical trial to investigate the antitumour effect of deuterium-depleted water in symptomatic, previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

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Biotherapeutics  •  Novel Technologies


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