Cancer is an uncontrolled division; proliferation and growth of human cells as a result of different causes, while malaria is an infectious disease caused from Plasmodium parasite species. 

Carbon monoxide (CO) can make an extraordinary breakthrough in cancer treatment, according to a new study. Researchers recently have discovered that CO can be used to slow the proliferation of cancerous cells and amplify the effect of conventional cytotoxic treatment.

Though toxic, CO has in recent years become subject to a range of clinical applications, particularly in treating inflammatory conditions along with H2S and NO gases.

The investigation has so far yielded promising results. In fact, scientist found that small, carefully controlled doses of CO not only mimicked the effects of chemotherapy agents by blocking proliferation of cancer cells, but also amplified the toxic effects of the chemotherapy drugs doxorubicin and camptothecin to accelerate cancer cell death. Importantly, CO also helped to protect normal tissue from chemotherapy, meaning that it’s safer than conventional chemotherapy.

In an experiment with mice, the researchers found that the CO treatment made chemotherapy drugs 1,000 times more effective as a result of CO’s ability to influence the metabolic state of cancer cells, leading to cancer cell to death.

Cancer cells are able to alter their metabolism in processing sugars and other energy sources, which enable them to rapidly proliferate and spread, known as the Warburg Effect.

Findings indicate that CO essentially induces an 'anti-Warburg' effect, rapidly fueling cancer cell bioenergetics by compelling the cancer cell to increase respiration, which ultimately results in metabolic exhaustion.

In the other side CO was also effective in malaria disease treatment in mice model.

Scientist designed a novel carbon monoxide-releasing molecule (CO-RM; ALF492) that fully protects mice against experimental malaria. ALF492 enables controlled CO delivery in vivo without affecting oxygen transport by hemoglobin, the major limitation in CO inhalation therapy.

The protective effect is CO dependent and induces the expression of heme oxygenase-1 that decreases a level of hemozoine coenzyme, which contributes to the observed protection by causing a death to malaria parasite. When used in combination with the antimalarial drug artesunate, ALF492 is an effective adjunctive and adjuvant treatment for malaria, conferring protection after the onset of severe disease. This study paves the way for the potential use of CO-RMs, such as ALF492, as adjunctive/adjuvant treatment in severe forms of malaria infection.


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