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The Burnham Buzz, February 2009
Date:2/3/2009

Partnering for Progress

Burnham Institute for Medical Research (Burnham) has signed an assay development and license agreement with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development LLC. (J&JPRD). Under this multi-year agreement, Burnham will provide J&JPRD with access to high-throughput assay screening technologies to investigate certain drug targets for inflammatory diseases. The agreement is Burnham's first broad-based partnership with a large pharmaceutical company. Scientists at Burnham's Infectious and Inflammatory Disease Center are already using the institute's state-of-the-art robotic screening center in basic research programs.

Can you hear me now? Digital Drug Search

Giovanni Paternostro, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues have developed a means to use search algorithms developed for the digital communications industry to identify drug combinations that are safe and effective. This novel approach involves algorithms that use biological measurements and model simulations to search for optimal drug combinations for the treatment of complex diseases such as cancer. In the study, a small subset of the drug combinations identified using the algorithms were tested in fruit fly and cancer cell model systems. Dr. Paternostro's research, published in the December 26, 2008 edition of PLoS Computational Biology, demonstrated that this approach can identify safe and effective drug combinations more rapidly that conventional methods. The conventional approach to finding drug combinations involves trial and error testing.

Gaining Control

Burnham scientists have identified the molecular machinery that regulates DNA replication and the S-phase checkpoint of the cell cycle. Wei Jiang, Ph.D., showed that the protein kinase complex known as Ddk is responsible for initiation of DNA replication, as well as controlling the S-phase of the cell cycle. If damaged DNA or a replication error is identified,
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Contact: Josh Baxt
jbaxt@burnham.org
858-795-5236
Burnham Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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