Here is the latest American Chemical Society (ACS) Office of Public Affairs Weekly PressPac with news from ACS’ 34 peer-reviewed journals and Chemical & Engineering News.
This information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance ACS Office of Public Affairs Weekly PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Please cite the individual journal, or the American Chemical Society, as the source of this information.
Scientists in Louisiana are reporting development of a process for producing large batches of a new and potentially safer form of acetaminophen, the widely used pain-reliever now the source of growing concern over its potentially toxic effects on the liver. Their study, which could speed development of a next-generation pain-reliever, is scheduled for the July 17 issue of ACS’ Organic Process Research & Development, a bi-monthly journal.
In June, an advisory panel of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration recommended banning certain prescription pain relievers containing acetaminophen because of the drug’s potential to cause liver damage when used in high doses. Mark Trudell and colleagues note in the study that scientists recently discovered a new form of acetaminophen that has similar potency to the original drug with a lower risk of liver toxicity. But until now, scientists have had difficulty producing this substance in quantities suitable for industrial scale-up.
The researchers describe a simple, efficient method for producing the new pain-reliever using only a few starting materials and a short series of chemical reactions. In laboratory studies, they used the new method to produce multigram quantities of the substance with 99 percent purity. The scientists point out that the new process can be performed on a much larger production level if needed.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
Journal Article: “Inhibition of Influenza Virus Infections by Sialylgalactose-Binding Peptides Selected from a Phage Library”
Amid reports that swine flu viruses are developing the ability to shrug off existing antiviral drugs, scientists in Japan are reporting a first-of-its kind discovery that could foster a new genre of antivirals that sidestep resistance problems, according to an article scheduled for the July 23 issue of the ACS’ Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.
Toshinori Sato and colleagues note in the new study that current antiviral drugs, including Tamiflu and Relenza, fight influenza by blocking key proteins that viruses need to reproduce. As the viruses reproduce, however, they can mutate into drug-resistant strains.
The researchers describe discovery of a new way to prevent flu viruses from infecting cells in the first place. They identified potential drugs that can block the first step in the infection process, and demonstrated that the substances work in cell cultures. “These results may lead to a new approach in the design of antiviral drugs,” they state, noting that it could be used to develop new drugs for a variety of other medical problems.
Journal Article: “Protective Effects of L- and D-Carnosine on alpha-Crystallin Amyloid Fibril Formation: Implications for Cataract Disease”
Researchers are reporting evidence from tissue culture experiments that the popular dietary supplement carnosine may help to prevent and treat cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye that is a leading cause of vision loss worldwide. The study is scheduled for the July 28 edition of ACS’ Biochemistry, a weekly journal.
In the new study, Enrico Rizzarelli and colleagues note that the only effective treatment for cataracts is surgical replacement of the lens, the clear disc-like structure inside the eye that focuses light on the nerve tissue in the back of the eye. Cataracts develop when the main structural protein in the lens, alpha-crystallin, forms abnormal clumps. The clumps make the lens cloudy and impair vision. Previous studies hinted that carnosine may help block the formation of these clumps.
The scientists exposed tissue cultures of healthy rat lenses to either guanidine — a substance known to form cataracts — or a combination of guanidine and carnosine. The guanidine lenses became completely cloudy, while the guanidine/carnosine lenses developed 50 to 60 percent less cloudiness. Carnosine also restored most of the clarity to clouded lenses. The results demonstrate the potential of using carnosine for preventing and treating cataracts, the scientists say.
The accidental discovery of a bowl-shaped molecule that pulls carbon dioxide out of the air suggests exciting new possibilities for dealing with global warming, including genetically engineering microbes to manufacture those CO2 “catchers,” a scientist from Maryland reports in an article scheduled for the August 3 issue of ACS’ Inorganic Chemistry, a bi-weekly journal.
J. A. Tossell notes in the new study that another scientist discovered the molecule while doing research unrelated to global climate change. Carbon dioxide was collecting in the molecule, and the scientist realized that it was coming from air in the lab. Tossell recognized that these qualities might make it useful as an industrial absorbent for removing carbon dioxide.
Tossell’s new computer modeling studies found that the molecule might be well-suited for removing carbon dioxide directly from ambient air, in addition to its previously described potential use as an absorbent for CO2 from electric power plant and other smokestacks. “It is also conceivable that living organisms may be developed which are capable of emplacing structurally ion receptors within their cell membranes,” the report notes.
In an effort to make coal a cleaner energy source, an increasing number of companies are engaged in multimillion dollar efforts to develop and test technologies to capture and store carbon dioxide, a source of global warming. That’s the topic of a noteworthy article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.
C&EN senior correspondent Ann Thayer notes in the article that coal accounts for 40 percent of power generation worldwide and experts expect it to play an even larger role in the future as energy needs arise. Several organizations, including an intergovernmental policy advisor called International Energy Agency, have identified carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a promising approach to reducing emissions. The process can involve using certain chemicals to absorb carbon dioxide from power plant flue gases, compressing it, and then storing it elsewhere. Governments around the world have pledged billions for dollars for research and development and CCS demonstration projects, with some countries expected to have commercial-scale plants by 2020.
Several hurdles stand in the way. Companies developing the CCS projects will need to demonstrate that the technology works in coal-fired plants and that it is efficient and cost-effective. Other challenges include transporting and successful storage of the captured carbon dioxide. But with advances in chemical research, including more efficient materials and approaches for removing carbon dioxide, CCS projects are now much more affordable and achievable than previously thought, the article suggests.
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PressPac information is intended for your personal use in news gathering and reporting and should not be distributed to others. Anyone using advance PressPac information for stocks or securities dealing may be guilty of insider trading under the federal Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 154,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.