Therapeutic Use of Enzymes

Enzymes are the extremely selective biocatalysts synthesized by living cells. Therapeutic enzymes are those enzymes which can be used medically either isolately or adjunctly with other therapies with the purpose of treatment of various diseases safely. Use of these enzymes as drugs for the treatment of medical problems forms the basis for “Therapeutic use of enzymes”. The cost of such enzymes may be quite high but still comparable to those of competing therapeutic agents or treatments.


EnzymesTherapeutic UseBasisAdditional Information
ProlactazymeLactose IntoleranceProlactazyme is a proenzmye that produces lactase in stomach.About 75% of the world’s population is intolerant to lactose in adulthood. It occurs due to lack of lactase in digestive system.
Beta-LactamasePenicillin AllergyPenicillin is converted to penicillioateLearn more about penicillin allergy here
AgluceraseGaucher’s Disease type IEnzyme replacement therapyThis disease is characterized by the lack of enzyme glucocerebrocidase.
StreptokinaseHeart Attacks (Myocardial Infarction)Used as “clot blusters” to dissolve clots in the arteries of heart wall. Plasminogen is converted to  plasmin which is fibrinolytic.Administered i.v. to patients as soon as possible after the onset of a heart attack
AsparaginaseAcute Childhood LeukemiaDecreased level of serum asparagine and inhibition of aspargine dependent multiplication of tumor cells.Tumor cells cannot synthesize L-asparagine  due to lack of aspartate-ammonia ligase.
CollagenaseSkin ulcersCauses collagen hydrolysisBreak up and remove dead skin and tissue
DNAseCystic Fibrosis (CF)DNAse hydrolyses extracellular DNA responsible for Cystic Fibrosis.DNA present in the mucous, which

arises from dead WBCs  and bacterial cells, serves to cross link the mucous, changing it from a fluid gel to a semi-solid.

LysozymeAntibiotic TherapyCauses Bacterial cell wall hydrolysis
RibonucleaseAntiviral TherapyCauses RNA hydrolysis
TrypsinInflammationCauses Protein hydrolysis
UricaseGoutConverts Urate to allantoin
Enzyme inhibitorsTo increase the efficacy of drugsAgainst resistant bacterisaExample: Beta lactamase inhibitor like clavulanic acid along with amoxicillin.

Further Reading:
Isoenzymes and their Diagnostic Importance

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About the Author

Sulabh Shrestha
Intern doctor and Medical Blogger Sulabh Shrestha

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