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Can antioxidants treat the diseases caused by cigarette smoke?

A scholar from University of Rochester discovered that cigarette smoke contains such toxins that can kill a gene from human body that plays a vital role in protecting the body from the effects of early aging. This gene, named Sirtuin (SIRT) gene, protects human body from diseases such as chronic pulmonary disease and lung cancer.

The scientists' goal and hope are to find the ways to restore this gene in organism. They begun testing the power of an antioxidant Resveratrol, which is extracted from red grape skins, and they hope that this antioxidant will help them to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

"This novel protein will allow us to program our body's immune-inflammatory system against lung damage and premature aging. The hallmark of this discovery is that we may be able to provide remedies to millions of smokers who would like to quit but cannot kick their addiction, and millions of former smokers who, despite quitting, remain at risk for illness as they age," said Irfan Rahman, Ph.D., associate professor of Environmental Medicine and an investigator in the University of Rochester's Lung Biology and Disease Program. Many years Rahman has studied how the 4,700 toxic chemical compounds in cigarettes attack lung tissue.

Rahman analyzed also the SIRT gene advantages. He showed that this gene can not only regulate chronic inflammation, cancer and aging but also play a positive role in stress resistance, metabolism, apoptosis and other processes involved in premature aging. But cigarette smoke or pollution can wipe out this gene from lungs.

Rahman studied also the levels of SIRT in the lungs of smokers and nonsmokers. And he affirmed that SIRT was significantly lower in smokers.

Rahman said, ″You can be 45 years old and look great on the outside, but if you are a smoker or former smoker, your lungs can easily be 60 years old because of the chemical assault.″

Scientific explorers showed that 23 million Americans have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. By the year 2020, this disease is expected to be the third leading cause of death worldwide.

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