A natural product, a lipid, has been identified which appears to possess the types of unique properties which are currently considered valuable in the search for new types of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A drug containing this new compound could offer several advantages over existing anti-inflammatory drugs because it blocks only one biochemical pathway- that of lipoxin biosynthesis. All of the currently used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs- including aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen inhibit two pathways, leukotriene biosynthesis and lipoxin biosynthesis. Pharmaceutical companies have been searching for a drug that blocks only the lipoxin pathway. It is thought that a drug with this property would work especially well in treating the types of inflammatory conditions associated with asthma and atherosclerosis. More recently, in vivo bioassays conducted with the natural product indicated that the natural product exhibits anti-inflammatory activity in an arachidonic acid-induced topical bioassay system. While the positive control, indomethacin inhibited the inflammation by 56%, the natural product inhibited inflammation by 41%.
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