JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Catalytic bioscavengers in nerve agent poisoning: A promising approach?

Franz Worek, Horst Thiermann, Timo Wille
Toxicology Letters 2016 February 26, 244: 143-8
26200600
The repeated use of the nerve agent sarin against civilians in Syria in 2013 emphasizes the continuing threat by chemical warfare agents. Multiple studies demonstrated a limited efficacy of standard atropine-oxime treatment in nerve agent poisoning and called for the development of alternative and more effective treatment strategies. A novel approach is the use of stoichiometric or catalytic bioscavengers for detoxification of nerve agents in the systemic circulation prior to distribution into target tissues. Recent progress in the design of enzyme mutants with reversed stereo selectivity resulting in improved catalytic activity and their use in in vivo studies supports the concept of catalytic bioscavengers. Yet, further research is necessary to improve the catalytic activity, substrate spectrum and in vivo biological stability of enzyme mutants. The pros and cons of catalytic bioscavengers will be discussed in detail and future requirements for the development of catalytic bioscavengers will be proposed.

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