Research could help kidney disease.
SCIENTISTS at a Welsh university have made great strides in the treatment of kidney and liver disease following a breakthrough in their cell research.
Cardiff University professors have found a way to stop certain cells dying prematurely.
Working with experts from Sweden, Germany and USA, they have discovered mechanisms that control a new form of premature cell death in living tissue - called ferroptosis - and a way to reverse it.
Tests have since revealed that this prevents tissue damage in human kidney and liver cells, preventing acute kidney failure and liver damage, opening up the possibility of new pharmacological treatments for a number of diseases.
Up until now, ferroptosis was a form of cell death identified only in cancer cells. But the new findings, published in Nature Cell Biology, show this kind of cell death can also be triggered in healthy cells by removing a protein known as Gpx4.
Researchers found a way to fight this and discovered a small inhibitor called Liproxstatin-1 that proved capable of suppressing ferroptosis. Scientists were able to use this to prevent cell death in living organisms.
The findings suggest this could be a therapeutic target for preventing tissue damage in a range of conditions.
Co-author Professor Valerie O'Donnell, of Cardiff University, said: "Ferroptosis may play a role in a number of diseases,.
"We are hoping these exciting results will stimulate further inquiry in this area, helping to unravel mechanisms involved in this important new form of cell death. The aim would now be to try this approach in human trials."