Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule produced during glycolysis that is crucial to cellular respiration in all organisms. During this process, cells store converted chemical energy in ATP molecules. Composed of the base adenine, the sugar ribose and three phosphate groups, ATP is vital to both exothermic and endothermic reactions. Simple in its construction and easily broken down, ATP is advantageous in energy production and health treatment.
Advantages in Chemotherapy Treatment
In a 2008 study conducted by a research team at Ewha Medical Research Institute in South Korea, ATP was shown to be useful in measuring the activity of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. In the study, ATP chemosensitivity tests were successfully performed in 40 out of 43 patients. ATP is advantageous in such tests because of its accuracy and because it can be used on a small number of tumour cells. In addition, ATP tests are simple to evaluate and readily standardised and reproduced.
Advantages as an Energy Source
Another advantage of ATP is its effectiveness as a source of energy. Whereas glucose requires multiple enzymes to release energy and releases energy in large amounts, ATP only needs one enzyme for energy release and is able to release energy in small amounts as needed. Because ATP can be used in different chemical reactions, it is known as the "universal energy currency." When broken down, a portion of the energy released from ATP particles creates even more ATP, repeating the process of energy production. Finally, ATP aids in cell efficiency because it helps ensure that cells lose only minimal amounts of energy. Energy production is important to the overall functioning of an organism because it is used for active transport, protein synthesis, nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
Advantages in Hygiene Monitoring
Scientists also find ATP useful in monitoring industrial plant hygiene and cleaning efficiency. Using ATP to monitor hygiene is a simple process that involves a bioluminescent detector and gives results in less than five minutes. Because ATP is found in all biological organisms, its presence indicates biological contamination. If ATP test results are positive, meaning that ATP is present, this indicates poor hygiene levels. Not only is the ATP test quick, it is also convenient, involving just a fixed-volume pipette and instruments that can fit in any bag or briefcase. The ATP test can be used in a variety of situations, including product control and monitoring, production line cleanliness evaluation and hygiene training of production staff.
Advantages in Supraventricular Tachycardia Treatment
Because ATP is a precursor of adenosine, a nucleoside with anti-arrhythmic effects, it can also be used to treat supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a heart rhythm disorder. In a Belgian study reported in the "European Journal of Pediatrics" in 1994, scientists studied the effects of ATP (when mixed with other nucleosides) on 22 infants. In the study, 17 of the children no longer displayed SVT symptoms after the treatment. As a result, ATP has been recommended to diagnose and treat SVT with minimal side effects.