Dr. Naren Vyavahare explains the significance of elastin
Exposed elastin fiber is a unique therapeutic target

Image: Naren Vyavahare

Image: sigmaaldrich.com

  • Chronic inflammation and calcification accelerate its degradation in neurological, pulmonary & vascular disorders, as well as in cancers & infections.

The role of elastin fiber in our lives

Elastin fiber fragment

'Elastin is a crucial building block in our bodies -- its flexibility allows skin to stretch and twist, blood vessels to expand and relax with every heartbeat, and lungs to swell and contract with each breath.

This material has a remarkable combination of flexibility and durability: elastin is one of the body's most long-lasting component proteins, with an average survival time comparable to a human lifespan.

 

During a person's life, the elastin in a blood vessel, for example, will have gone through an estimated two billion cycles of pulsation.’                                                                                                                           

                                                    - Science Daily

Elastin takes different forms in the body depending on where it is found. The form targeted by our technologies is core elastin fiber exposed during disease and injury.

Elastin fiber is critical for skin, vascular and pulmonary functions. Among its many other roles, it uses the mechanism depicted here to pump blood  and maintain tissue integrity.

  •  Damaged elastin fibre weakens skin and arterial walls. lt shows up physically as sagging skin, but it also leads to    aneurysms and stroke.

  • Starting in the mid-twenties the body stops replacing elastin fibre. The fibre degrades with age. Neurological acuity, mobility, circulation and breathing are impaired.​

Elastin Fiber stretches, snaps back

Sagging?

 

Degraded elastin.

 

  • In illness and injury, core elastin fibre is exposed due to loss of microfibrils that protect it. Due to this phenomenon, exposed elastin is a unique therapeutic target.

  • There is no regulatory-approved therapy for repairing damaged elastin fibre in blood vessels. Non-invasive therapies for aneurysms and stroke have limited effect. Aneurysms in the brain are often inoperable.

Healthy young elastin                                  Degraded, calcified elastin

 

Technically, calcification is the hardening of our body tissue by calcium salts, usually calcium phosphate. These salts contain other minerals, such as phosphorus, and are often toxic. 

 

Calcification is not normally a named disease, yet it is found in many illnesses. The process is also known as “pathological calcification” and as “calcium deposits”. It can also refer to the healthy formation of bone, but that is not our focus here. 

 

Calcifying diseases start assaulting our bodies when we are young, then degrade us and make us suffer as we age, and ultimately lead to death.

 

Calcification is found in “hardening of the arteries,” which is the popular term applied to arteriosclerosis and atherosclerosis. It is also found in aneurysm, calcified heart valves, congestive heart failure, enlargement of the heart, known as “cardiomegaly,” heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, and thrombosis (blood clots). Each has a calcification link.

 

The impacts of calcification are described in medical manuals. The tiny particles that make up calcified deposits  spark inflammation and changes in the rate of cell reproduction. 


Calcification is often referred to as “pathological.” It is not the healthy process that feeds cells or builds bone but instead is disease related. 

Images: Fraunhofer IMWS

Calcification stiffens elastin in vessel walls

Hardened vessel

Healthy vessel

Elastin Fibers

Calcification

It Starts in the Capillaries

Up to forty billion capillaries supply the body with blood. Most of them are so small that blood cells squeeze through them one at a time. Capillaries expand and contract to control blood flow, which makes their role paramount in keeping us healthy.


As we age we feel less energetic because those capillaries harden, swell, and get blocked. At the early stage, swelling and irritation combine with a buildup of fats. Corridors get more brittle year after year. Their inability to flex robs us of life-giving nourishment. This interferes with heart, liver, and other body tissues. Calcification is part of the process, but so is a substance knows as elastin.

 

Painful Outcomes

Bursitis, tendinitis, arthritis, ovarian cysts, and spinal calcium deposits each require painkillers, anti-inflammatories, and antidepressants to keep pain under control. At a more serious level, calcification-related cancers and heart conditions bring on deep emotional and physical pain that is hard to quantify but plain to see. It requires drugs that have unpleasant side effects. The term applied to these therapies that help patients to get through the day is “pain management.”

 

The Calcification List
• Aging of skin
• Alzheimer’s (deterioration of brain function)
• Arthritis (osteo and rheumatoid)
• Autism (childhoood brain disorder)
• Bone spurs
• Brain sand and brain cysts
• Breast implant calcification
• Bursitis (inflammation of the joints)
• Calcinosis cutis (calcium deposits in the skin)
• Cancer (bone, brain, breast, colon, prostate, and ovarian)
• Cataracts
• Deafness from middle ear ossification
• Diabetes (type 2 in adults)
• Gallstones
• Glaucoma (eye disease that degrades vision)
• Heart disease, notably arteriosclerosis and atheroclerosis
• Heterotopic ossification (bone formation in soft tissue)
• Hypoparathyroidism (low production of some hormones)
• Kidney stones, cysts, polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
• Liver cysts
• Macular degeneration (degradation of a part of the eyes)
• Ménière’s disease (vertigo from inner ear malfunction)
• Multiple sclerosis (degradation of the nervous system)
• Parathyroid disease (affects hormones that balance calcium)
• Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)
• Psoriasis (inflammation of the skin)
• Salivary gland stones
• Scleroderma (hardening of the skin)
• Stroke (brain aneurysm and other blockages)
• Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons)

Why are 'calcium deposits' a priority for therapy?

Calcium is the stuff of life and of death. Every human depends on it to survive. Yet, in many of us, a tiny fraction of it goes bad. This is known as “calcification.” It is one of the most pervasive yet least understood medical conditions. Those who get it are often not aware of it until they fall ill.

Calcification is an attempt by the body to wall off damaged tissue, but when it is chronic it has unintended impacts. It damages elastin by stiffening and degrading it. The process creates a vicious cycle of injury, inflammation and calcification.

 

Presently there is no regulatory approved therapy to reverse calcification. It represents a universal unmet need for millions of patients.

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