‘Designer molecules’ being developed to fight disease

Jun 12, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Researchers in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of Leicester are developing a new way to make protein based drugs with potential applications in stroke, vascular inflammation, blood vessel formation, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

The research carried out by doctoral student Shikha Sharma in Dr Nick Brindle’s group in Department of Cardiovascular Sciences aims to allow researchers to rapidly make ‘designer proteins’ that can bind to disease causing molecules in the body.

Shikha Sharma said “There are millions of different proteins that are involved in carrying out numerous functions in the human body. Over time each protein has evolved to optimise its function. Disease could result if any of these fail to perform efficiently.”

“By generating designer proteins in test tubes, we can produce molecules that have specific actions to control processes in the body. These proteins can be used to make drugs as a treatment for heart disease and cancer.”

She said: “Whilst most drugs in current use are synthetic, these designer molecules are developed from natural proteins and are likely to have fewer side effects. Proteins perform a well defined but complex set of function in the body and protein therapeutic drugs can perform better when compared to some synthetic small molecule drugs that may have unwanted interactions within the body.”

“Current methods to generate protein therapeutic are cumbersome and time consuming. At the University of Leicester, we have developed a novel method to revolutionise the way in which we produce these designer protein drugs. In principle this method mimics natural evolution to make new proteins but over a shorter timescale. Instead of taking millions of years, we can create new proteins in just a few weeks.”

She said: “The fact that this new method utilizes a similar mechanism by which antibodies are generated, suggests the output from this method will be as robust and dynamic as the wide range of antibodies produced in our bodies to fight the rapidly evolving viruses in the environment.”

Dr Brindle said: “Shikha has made great progress towards this new method, which holds the promise of new better drugs for a wide range of human and animal disease.”

In addition to medicine, the method holds promise for a wide range of applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries, such as generating protein molecules to prevent uptake of toxins in crops or molecules for detection of environmental pollutants.

Source: University of Leicester (news : web)

Explore further: Leading medical experts call for an end to UK postcode lottery for liver disease treatment and detection

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Chemical probes beat antibodies at own game

Apr 26, 2007

A new way of detecting biological structures could help in the fight against disease. The new method, developed by scientists at Oxford University, uses chemistry to assemble proteins into ‘protein probes’ ...

Major step for drug discovery and diagnostics

Feb 12, 2009

Researchers from Nano-Science Center, University of Copenhagen and National Centre for Scientific Research, France have developed a general method to study membrane proteins. This method can be used to screen ...

Novel method to reveal drug targets

Feb 22, 2008

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute scientists have developed a new large-scale method to identify the interactions between proteins that are a major target for therapeutic intervention. The novel method can identify the weak, ...

Toward new drugs that turn genes on and off

Jun 04, 2009

Scientists in Michigan and California are reporting an advance toward development of a new generation of drugs that treat disease by orchestrating how genes in the body produce proteins involved in arthritis, ...

Recommended for you

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.