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Biochemical Studies of Synthetic Heme Analogues as Inhibitors of Heme Oxygenase.

We continue to study the biochemical and pharmacological properties and the clinical uses of synthetic heme analogues as inhibitors of heme oxygenase, the rate-limiting enzyme in heme catabolism to bile pigments. This work has, at the clinical level, culminated in the development of tin mesoporphyrin (SnMP), a potent inhibitor of heme oxygenase, for use in the control of hyperbilirubinemia in newborns. In our most recent studies in term and near-term newborns we have shown that a single, small dose of SnMP administered at an appropriate time after birth is more effective than intensive phototherapy in controlling neonatal hyperbilirubinemia, with the added advantages of simplicity of administration, extremely low cost and greatly decreased use of medical resources such as extended hospitalization for this problem.