LA JOLLA, CADecember 22, 2013Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have demonstrated a drug-discovery strategy with a double payoffit enables the rapid selection of chemical compounds that have a desired effect on cells and also highlights how the compounds work.
To illustrate the power of the innovative technique, the TSRI researchers used it to identify a compound that shows promise for treating obesity-linked diabetes. At the same time, they were able to identify the fat-cell enzyme that the compound inhibitsan enzyme that has not yet been a focus of diabetes drug development.
"This integrated strategy we've developed has the potential to accelerate the discovery of important biological pathways and may lead to faster development of new drugs for multiple diseases," said TSRI Associate Professor Enrique Saez.
Saez and his colleague Benjamin F. Cravatt, chair of TSRI's Department of Chemical Physiology, were the senior authors of the new study, which is reported December 22, 2013, in an advance online issue of Nature Chemical Biology.
Facilitating Drug Discovery
The new strategy has great potential to streamline drug discovery, a process whose importance to human health can hardly be overemphasized.
Typically, pharmaceutical scientists start the discovery process by "screening" large libraries of chemical compounds in search of one or a few that might treat disease. The dominant strategy of recent decades has been to screen compounds for a specific activity against a known target, for example, inhibiting the function of a certain enzyme thought to be critical for the disease in question. A key advantage of this "target-based" screening is that it uses biochemical tests that can be done relatively simply in a test-tubeor rather, in a large array of tiny test tubes via automated, rapid screening systems that sort through hundreds of thousands of different compounds.
|Contact: Mika Ono|
Scripps Research Institute