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For the past 25 years, we have probed the enzymology of myeloperoxidase (MPO). This haem protein gives pus and phlegm their characteristic green tinge. MPO produces chlorine bleach from hydrogen peroxide and common salt.
The knowledge from this work has helped us understand how white blood cells called neutrophils use MPO to kill bacteria. It has also revealed that chlorine bleach and free radicals contribute to inflammation.
We have shown that chlorine bleach promotes inflammatory tissue damage in cystic fibrosis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease. In collaboration with AstraZeneca, we have also developed specific inhibitors of MPO that are potential anti-inflammatory drugs.
Current research topics
Public Health Lectures
In the media
Professor Kettle was interviewed for Radio New Zealand's Our Changing World series in October 2014.