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Startup launches immune support supplement based on novel pterin pathway

By Hank Schultz , 21-Dec-2012
Last updated the 21-Dec-2012 at 09:00 GMT

SanRx, a San Diego-based nutraceutical startup, has a new immune support supplement that attacks the problem in a novel way, via the action of a set of molecules called pterins.

The product, called ImmunoPterin, is a patent-pending combination of folic acid and calcium chloride that is specifically designed to produce pterins – potent, naturally occurring immune supporting compounds, according to SanRx president and chief scientist Dr. Phillip Moheno.

“ImmunoPterin is a different approach to immune support, targeting IDO, a chemical reaction in the body that inhibits immunity,” Moheno told NutraIngredients-USA.

“After many years of research we learned that the calcium ion cleaves off the side chain of folic acid and produces the pterin,” said Moheno, who is also an adjunct professor at California State University San Marcos.

“The calcium pterins are the compounds we’ve been working with for nigh on 40 years now.  We discovered that they are immunomodulatory toward the enzyme IDO,” he said.

Modulating the modulator

IDO is an enzyme that regulates immune system response by suppressing effector T-cell function through depletion of the essential amino acid tryptophan.  Like many facets of immune system response, such as inflammation, some activity is necessary and good, but too much is not.

“IDO is like the Achilles heel of the immune system,” Moheno said. “Many cancer cells as well as many infectious diseases seem to activate IDO as a way to debilitate the immune system and wreak their havoc.”

The company initially set about developing a pharmaceutical compound based on the technology called DCP.  A decision was made to pursue the dietary supplement form, and preclinical trials showing good results have been conducted in mouse models of breast cancer, diabetes and hepatitis B, Moheno said. He said the company was well aware of the tricky nature studying a nutraceutical’s mode of action with regard to certain diseases while keeping those results—however exciting—under wraps for marketing purposes.

“We have been working closely with FDA throughout our development.  What they have allowed us to say is that we enhance the immune system,” he said.

ImmunoPterin is currently being offered for sale on the company’s website.  The company is actively seeking investment capital to broaden its distribution.

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