Many serious pathological conditions, sepsis including, are the result of inflammation processes in the body that are mainly triggered by high mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) released by immune and dying cells. Next, HMGB1 binds to a specific cellular receptor, which releases a number of cytokines and triggers the inflammation process.

Using an “in silico” researches, the group of scientists from the Tokyo University of Science (TUS) has been trying to identify compounds, preferably based on existing drugs, that block the binding of this chromosomal protein to cellular receptors. Thus, they have discovered that the wildly used spasmolytic called vasodilator effectively blocks the binding of HMGB1 to the specific receptor suppressing the inflammation process, literally, in the bud. This refers to well-known to everybody papaverine: as Japanese scientists describe, this drug suppresses inflammatory reactions mediated by highly active HMGB1.

Japanese authors have confirmed that in an animal model papaverine significantly reduced the mortality rate in mice with induced sepsis. It appeared that papaverine furthermore cancels out the tumor-promoting effects of HMGB1 in tumor microenvironment, and also suppresses the growth and migration of cancer cells. In other words, these results indicate that papaverine may also specifically be a potential anticancer drug.

All these findings about biochemistry and metabolism of papaverine taken together could be a breakthrough in the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cancer, and even, as it became known, sepsis.

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