Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso
Enzymes are produced by living cells they are substances that act as a catalyst in living organisms, increasing the rate at which reactions take place without itself being effected in the process. Without them, reactions in cells would proceed at a too slower rate to sustain life. They are able to speed up the rate of chemical reactions. All enzymes are proteins and therefore have a tertiary structure. Each enzyme is a specific shape with an active site which is specific to one substrate molecule. When the substrate combines with the active site enzyme substrate complexes are formed. Ref. Letts revision guide biology at as / Understanding enzymes.Enzymes have several valuable industrial and medical applications. Due to the catalytic activity of enzymes they are able to be used in a variety of ways; Examples are in the fermenting of wine, the paper industry, starch industry, leather industry, baking industry, beer brewing industry, washing detergent industry and in the pharmaceutical and diagnostic industry. The uses of important enzymes in medicine include killing disease-causing micro organisms, prompting wound healing, and diagnosing certain diseases. Ref. Understanding biology for advanced level. Enzymes are used heavily in medicine. These applications include using enzymes as direct pharmaceutical products. In this essay I am going to look at the importance of enzymes in medicine and a few of the many different applications they undertake. For many years we have used enzymes to produce the things we rely on for example in cheese, bread, wine, beer and yogurts. Now due to our much more diverse commercial applications for example using enzymes in medicine the sale of enzymes is a multi billion pound industry. The medical and pharmaceutical application of enzymes covers such a wide range of ideas. In contrast to industrial uses where production is on a much larger scale; uses of medical and pharmaceutical enzyme applications generally require small quantities of highly purified enzymes. Enzymes and enzyme-generated products are administered to patients in very small doses; this is in order to avoid possible side effects. Ref. Understanding biology for advanced level /Enzyme technology. The first example I will look at is the use of enzymes in medicine is analytical tests. Enzymes can be used to detect and measure amounts of glucose in blood. The amount of glucose in the blood and urine is a crucial indicator in the diagnosis of diabetes; this is when there is a deficiency of insulin resulting in high glucose levels in the blood. It is detected using the enzyme glucose oxidase which is impregnated onto a strip of paper, and a biosensor. This instrument uses glucose oxidase as its biological system. The enzyme catalyses the reaction between glucose and oxygen to form gluconic acid. The biosensor then uses the amount of gluconic acid produced to indicate the quantity of glucose and oxygen there was in the blood this is indicated by a colour change. Ref. Enzyme technology / www.enzymes.co.uk/ Bio catalysts for industry. + Various leaflets Enzymes are very important when coming to diagnose disease; this is because if enzymes are present where they should not be then something may be wrong. An example of this is in the case of a damaged liver. Enzymes that would be normally found in the liver, leak into the blood stream. By testing the blood for alternate enzyme activity liver damage can be confirmed. Ref. Enzyme technology / www.enzymes.co.uk. Enzymes are vitally important in preventing excessive blood clotting and reducing the tendency for platelets and red blood cells to ?clog?. Because of enzymes part in removing metabolic waste and improving circulation proteases for example; Trypsin and chymotrypsin can be used in fibrinolysis, this a process that dissolves blood clots. One use is in the case of thrombosis, this is when blot clots form in damaged blood vessels, if these clots are carried to an small artery and may become blocked a heart attack or stroke can be caused. This can be treated by enzymes such as trypsin and protease. Digestion of the insoluble fibrin clot takes place and because the enzymes are proteins this results in a conversion to amino acids, consequently freeing the trapped blood cells and eliminating the clot. This process is called fibrinolysis. Opposite to the prevention of clotting; the enzyme protease can be used as a debriding agent they are used to clean the wound and accelerate the healing process. Ref. Enzyme technology / www.enzymes.co.uk / www.chiroweb.com. Enzymes can also be used in drug manufacture where the synthesis of drugs is difficult therefore enzymes are used to perform the chemical procedure. Enzymes can also be used to aid digestion where they are used to supplement amylase, lipase and protease produced mainly by the pancreas. An example is lactose intolerant people where they require lactose as their bodies are not producing it. Ref. www.enzymes.co.uk/ enzyme technology. mold Penicillium notatumThe last point in enzyme application in medicine I will talk about is the production of antibiotics in particular penicillin. The major pharmaceutical; products produced using enzyme technology are the antibiotic, semi-synthetic penicillins. Antibiotics are chemical substances produced by micro organisms which are effective in dilute solution in preventing the spread of other micro organisms. Most inhibit growth rather than kill the micro organism on which they act. One of the best known antibiotics is penicillin ? discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928. It was found that it acts on growing bacteria, killing them and preventing their growth. It is believed to compete with paraaminobenzoic acid for the active site of an enzyme. In this way they do not kill the bacteria but simply stop them from reproducing. Although it has been very successful since its discovery in 1928 and has had an enormous influence on the control of disease, antibiotics have one serious drawback this is that due to the development of resistance towards antibiotics by pathogens there is a continuing need to find new types. Each time a new one is used resistant strains of micro organisms arise which further drugs have to be developed. In my opinion new developed drugs should therefore be used with much more restraint and discrimination and more time should be used searching for natural antibiotics to the development of new strains using genetic engineering. Ref. Bio chemistry and engineering (volume 2)/ Understanding biology for advanced level / http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blpenicillin.htm. In this essay I have outlined and explained only a small number of the uses of enzymes in medicine however there are many more successfully developed uses. Examples include, in the treatment of genetic defects, the development of artificial organ function, neoplasm, anti?inflammatory reagents, drug manufacture, the removal of chiral components and to aid digestion. In the 20th century the use of enzymes in pharmaceutical and industry is limited to a low number of very successful applications. However it is the very success of such applications that continues to help pave the way for new developments and it is clear that there is no shortage of ideas. After having an insight to the application of enzymes in the medical and pharmaceutical problems I have realised that it is an exciting and promising field that is ripe for development in the near future.

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