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Pradip Mascharak

Summary

Dr. Pradip Mascharak’s bioinorganic chemistry laboratory conducts basic and applied research regarding metal-based, nitric oxide (NO) and carbon monoxide (CO) carriers that release NO (or CO) when activated by light. In cancer cells, NO induces apoptosis (programmed cell death), which is the primary cellular mechanism of tumor clearing in chemotherapeutic treatments. Unlike conventional chemotherapy where the drug is distributed systemically, Mascharak’s synthetic “NO donors” allow unique control over where, when, and how much NO is released. Various chemical principles guide the design of such nitrosyls (NO carriers) that deliver NO to biological targets under specific conditions. Results of parallel theoretical studies are also utilized to elucidate the electronic origin of the NO photolability. This “photodynamic” approach has intriguing implications for the development of drugs in treating skin and other cancers. Recently the group has turned their focus on CO, another surprising addition to the list of small signaling molecule in biology. Low doses of CO has been shown to provide cytoprotective action to oxidatively damaged tissues (such as during stroke and ischemia). Mascharak's group has initiated syntheses of designed metal-CO complexes (based on Smart Design principles) that readily deliver CO to damaged tissues and neoplastic sites. Attempts are also being made to attach these NO/CO donors on inert matrices and employ the composites in catheters, powders, or patches for delivery of these two gaseous "drugs" in hospital settings.

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Interests

Chemistry And Biochemistry Delivery Of Small Messenger Molecules To Biological Targets

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