Diyunugala, Tharanga Indika
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Free radicals and reactive oxygen species can have adverse affects on human health. Many pathological conditions including cancer are related to free radical mediated cellular damage. Antioxidant molecules and enzymes in the body act as a defense system against the potential toxicity of these harmful molecules. Superoxide dismutases are special metallo-enzymes that protect cells from deleterious superoxide anion radical by a catalytic disproportionating mechanism. Four classes of superoxide dismutases based on the active site metal are known to date. A novel nickel containing superoxide dismutase has been characterized recently. The chemistry, enzymatic function, and the future perspective of this enzyme as a therapeutic agent in curing diseases are reviewed in this thesis.