Airmed : Natural Products Research
Natural Product Research at the Clinical Hub
The Airmed project is named after the celtic goddess of healing. According to legend, as Airmed wept by her murdered brothers grave, her tears gave rise to the worlds medicinal herbs.
This story highlights the diversity within the plant kingdom leads it to being the source of important medically relevant compounds. Over centuries these have been exploded in Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The earliest records of the uses of a natural product is from 2600 BC which describes the use of oils from Cupressus sempervirens L. (Cupressaceae) (Cypress), Commiphora species (myrrh), Glycyrrhiza glabra L. (Fabaceae) (liquorice) and Papaver somniferum L. (Papaveraceae) (poppy juice) to treat cough, colds, parasitic infections and inflammation.
However, many sources of medicinally active compounds remain uncharacterised scientifically.
Reflecting the potential of the natural diversity in natural with support from the Life Science Network, Clinical Hub Aberystwyth is charactersing sources of anti-microbial and anticancer activities and other important medicinal properties.
We are applying our expertise in omic technologies to inform the characterisation of medicinal herbs in collaboration with scientists from around the world.
Meet the Team
Case Study: Quercitrin and Sickle Cell Anaemia
Sickle cell anaemia (SCA) is an genetic blood disorder arising from a mutation in the haemoglobin (Hb) gene . World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 300,000 children are born with SCA annually, 75% of whom are in sub-Saharan Africa. Alchornea cordifolia Müll. Arg. (commonly known as Christmas Bush) has been used traditionally in Africa to treat SCA but the active compounds are yet to be identified. We have established that the active compound was quercitrin (quercetin 3-rhamnoside) which could apparently reverse the effects of SCA. On-going work is aiming to established the effectiveness of Christmas Bush extracts in many SCA suffers and its safety. We do not recommend that it is taken by SCA sufferers until its safety is established.
Our Collaborators and Funders
With Dr. Jianying Shen at the Artemisinin Reseearch Centre
Baptista, R.; Bhowmick, S.; Nash, R.J.; Baillie, L.; Mur, L.A.J. Target discovery focused approaches to overcome bottlenecks in the exploitation of antimycobacterial natural products. Future medicinal chemistry 2018, 10, 811-822.
Baptista, R.; Fazakerley, D.M.; Beckmann, M.; Baillie, L.; Mur, L.A.J. Untargeted metabolomics reveals a new mode of action of pretomanid (PA-824). Scientific reports 2018, 8, 5084.
3. Crusco, A.; Baptista, R.; Bhowmick, S.; Beckmann, M.; Mur, L.A.J.; Westwell, A.D.; Hoffmann, K.F. The Anti-mycobacterial Activity of a Diterpenoid-Like Molecule Operates Through Nitrogen and Amino Acid Starvation. Front Microbiol 2019, 10, 1444, doi:10.3389/fmicb.2019.01444.
Crusco, A.; Whiteland, H.; Baptista, R.; Forde-Thomas, J.E.; Beckmann, M.; Mur, L.A.J.; Nash, R.J.; Westwell, A.D.; Hoffmann, K.F. Antischistosomal Properties of Sclareol and Its Heck-Coupled Derivatives: Design, Synthesis, Biological Evaluation, and Untargeted Metabolomics. ACS Infectious Diseases 2019, 5, 1188-1199, doi:10.1021/acsinfecdis.9b00034.
5 Bhowmick, S.; Baptista, R.; Fazakerley, D.; Whatley, K.E.; Hoffmann, K.F.; Shen, J.; Mur, L.A.J. The anti-mycobacterial activity of Artemisia annua L is based on deoxyartemisinin and artemisinic acid. bioRxiv 2020, 10.1101/2020.10.23.352500, 2020.2010.2023.352500, doi:10.1101/2020.10.23.352500.
Baptista, R.; Bhowmick, S.; Shen, J.Y.; Mur, L.A.J. Molecular Docking Suggests the Targets of Anti-Mycobacterial Natural Products. Molecules 2021, 26, doi:ARTN 475
Adeniyi, O.; Baptista, R.; Bhowmick, S.; Cookson, A.; Nash, R.J.; Winters, A.; Shen, J.; Mur, L.A.J. Isolation and Characterisation of Quercitrin as a Potent Anti-Sickle Cell Anaemia Agent from Alchornea cordifolia. J Clin Med 2022, 11, doi:10.3390/jcm11082177.
Cao, D.; Sun, P.; Bhowmick, S.; Wei, Y.H.; Guo, B.; Wei, Y.H.; Mur, L.A.J.; Sun, Z.L. Secondary metabolites of endophytic fungi isolated from Huperzia serrata. Fitoterapia 2021, 155, doi:ARTN 104970
Bhowmick, S.; Beckmann, M.; Shen, J.; Mur, L.A.J. Identification and metabolomic characterization of potent anti-MRSA phloroglucinol derivatives from Dryopteris crassirhizoma Nakai (Polypodiaceae). Front Pharmacol 2022, 13, 961087, doi:10.3389/fphar.2022.961087.