Navigation Links
New technique for developing drugs to treat serious illnesses

An international team of researchers led by the University of Leicester has "harnessed the power of evolution" to create a new drug for possible use against heart disease, inflammation and other illnesses.

Researchers in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Department of Biochemistry at the University of Leicester, together with colleagues in Cambridge, the USA and Italy, have employed a new technique to create protein-based drugs.

According to Professor Nick Brindle, the lead researcher: "This technique harnesses the power of evolution to engineer specific functions into a protein, such as the ability to neutralise a toxin or to activate healing.

"This involves making a particular cell type generate millions of different variants of our protein, selecting the variants that have improved properties and then repeating the cycle until the protein has been changed to a form with the exact properties we want."

To show how the method works, the group took a protein normally found in the body and evolved it into a form that can block a molecule involved in blood vessel growth and inflammation.

This new protein, called a ligand-trap, is now being developed as a potential therapeutic for treating heart disease, inflammation and other illnesses.

Said Professor Brindle: "The idea that you can evolve proteins into forms that do what you want is not new, but it has been very difficult to do this for many of the complex proteins that we want to use as drugs or for other applications.

"This new approach promises to make engineering of such proteins not only possible but relatively easy. In addition to medicine, these specifically evolved 'designer proteins' have a wide range of applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries.

"This is a big step forward. We are hoping that, over the next five years or so, this new protein can be developed into a form that could be used to treat inflammation and other conditions."

The work, being published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), MRC and the Wellcome Trust. The Leicester team collaborated principally with Dr Julian Sale at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, with additional input from Dr Hiroshi Arakawa in Italy and Dr Jean-Marie Buerstedde at Yale.

Professor Brindle said: "We are really excited about getting this technique to work and are already using it to make other new molecules that we think will be useful to people. It was a real bonus for us to be able to evolve the ligand trap using the technique as this trap targets a molecule that is involved in a whole range of health problems."


Contact: Nick Brindle
University of Leicester

Related biology news :

1. Novel technique for suturing tissue-engineered collagen graft improves tendon repair
2. EUREKA grant to fund development of new optogenetic technique for mapping neural networks at UMMS
3. Research reveals bottom feeding techniques of tagged humpback whales in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary
4. New technique for measuring tree growth cuts down on research time
5. New gene repair technique promises advances in regenerative medicine
6. First child born following embryo screening with new genome analysis technique
7. New palm-sized microarray technique grows 1,200 individual cultures of microbes
8. UMass Amherst researchers develop powerful new technique to study protein function
9. Computer modeling technique goes viral at Brandeis
10. CLEO: 2013 press luncheon spotlights new techniques in optofluidics, temporal cloaking, cryolasers
11. New screening technique paves the way for protein drugs from bacteria
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New technique for developing drugs to treat serious illnesses
(Date:11/18/2015)... 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen our ... other healthcare providers face challenges in better using that ... In addition, as more children continue to survive pediatric ... and old age. John M. Maris, M.D ... of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> John ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology company that ... announce that it will be a Sponsor of the ... held November 17-19 in Hamburg , Germany.  ... iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and affordable eClinical ... able to deliver time and cost savings of up to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ) announced today ... Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at the 27th Annual ... . .   Listeners ... prior to the presentation to download or install any ... available on the website approximately one hour after the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Research Report is a professional and in-depth study ...      (Logo: ) , ... of the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and ... provided for the international markets including development trends, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) today announced that ... and invited investors to participate via webcast. ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern Time --> ... NY      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... International Society ... one of the premier annual events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The ... where ISPE hosted the largest number of attendees in more than a decade. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: