Navigation Links
The Burnham Buzz, February 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, Ddk acts as a quality control protein and stops replication at the S-phase checkpoint of the cell cycle. Halting the cell cycle at the S-phase allows for DNA repair enzymes to repair the damaged DNA. Once the DNA damage has been repaired, Ddk re-initiates replication. Ddk has long been thought to be involved in DNA replication and the S-phase checkpoint. However, its exact role had not been elucidated until Jiang's study, which was published in the December 24, 2008 issue of Molecular Cell. The role of Ddk in controlling the DNA replication machinery for genome stability and fidelity may make it an excellent target for the development of new cancer treatments because these functions are often deregulated in cancerous cells.

Suicide Switch

Stefan Riedl, Ph.D., got the first look at the molecular structure of the protein complex that controls apoptosis (programmed cell death). Fas and Fas associated death domain protein (FADD) make up the death inducing signaling complex (DISC). The Fas-FADD DISC is a receptor platform, which once assembled, initiates the induction of programmed cell death. Dr. Riedl determined the X-ray crystal structure of the DISC to 2.7 Angstroms resolution and found that protein-protein interactions between Fas and FADD mechanistically control DISC formation. The structure showed that Fas undergoes a conformational change, creating an open structure that acts as a site for FADD binding, as well as bridging between the Fas molecules in the clustered complex. Dr. Riedl and colleagues propose that the bridging between Fas molecules in the complex acts as a control switch for DISC formation and initiation of apoptosis. Riedl's study was published December 31, 2008 in Nature.


Contact: Josh Baxt
Burnham Institute

Related biology news :

1. Burnham researchers discover on switch for cell death signaling mechanism
2. The Burnham buzz
3. Burnham researchers turn cancer friend into cancer foe
4. Burnham researcher awarded $8 million grant
5. News from the February 2009 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
6. BioScience tip sheet, February 2009
7. February 2009 highlights from Biology of Reproduction
8. January-February GSA Bulletin media highlights
9. Media highlights for February in Biophysical Journal
10. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 2008
11. Highlights from the February 2008 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Vigilant,s Board after recently retiring from the partnership at ... owning 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  ... performance improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  A golden retriever that stayed healthy ... (DMD) has provided a new lead for treating this ... Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and the University ... Cell, pinpoints a protective gene ... disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab of Lou ...
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - ... "Company") announced today that the remaining 11,000 post-share ... Share Purchase Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject ... were exercised on November 23, 2015, which will ... Shares.  After giving effect to the issuance of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial ... points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media ... of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of the ... manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic tooth ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced ... is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray ... EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: