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Individuals with the rare disorder known as hyperinsulinism and hyperammonemia syndrome (HHS) lack the glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) enzyme, leading them to have a hypoglycemic reaction to protein, which sometimes causes death.
Researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have found that green tea-derived compounds may not only help treat the disorder, but that blocking GDH using the natural substances could help to effectively kill tumors.
HHS patients lack the ability to regulate GDH, so the researchers conducted a study to see whether the plant compounds could help compensate for this. Their trial was successful, demonstrating that oral treatment with the green tea product helped regulate GDH in people with HHS.
Moreover, a subsequent study suggested that blocking GDH in individuals with brain tumors known as glioblastomas or tuberous sclerosis complex disorder, a disease that causes formation of non-malignant tumors, was effective in killing the growths.
"Our ongoing collaboration with [a partner] lab shows that there are natural compounds from plants that can control this deadly disorder and, with the atomic structure in hand, can be used as a starting point for further drug design," said lead investigator Thomas Smith.