NOX (NADPH oxidase) was originally identified in immune cells, where it has an important role in destroying microbes. By 2005 a family of NOX enzymes had been described and designated NOX 1-5 and DUOX1 and 2. All of these enzymes produce reactive oxygen species (ROS).
High levels of ROS have been associated with tissue damage, so early therapeutic strategies focused on ‘scavenging’ (removing) ROS to reduce tissue damage levels. However, these strategies did not prove clinically effective. More recently, it has become clear that the role of ROS in disease include more subtle effects beyond tissue damage. Reversible oxidation of proteins by ROS has been identified as a fundamental cellular signalling mechanism – important in both health and disease. This reappraisal of the role of ROS points to an opportunity for a second generation of more targeted anti-oxidative therapies.
Genkyotex is exploiting this opportunity by inventing and developing highly targeted NOX inhibitors that:
- block the production of ROS efficiently at the source by stopping the action of NOX enzymes, which are the main source of ROS
- act on the specific NOX enzyme isoforms important in a particular disease, therefore reducing ‘bad ROS’ involved in the disease while having as little impact as possible on ‘good ROS’ involved in normal physiological processes.