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Treatment approach to human Usher syndrome: Small molecules ignore stop signals
Date:7/1/2011

signal in the mutated USH1C gene to be ignored, thus resulting in continuing protein synthesis and the formation of the functional genetic product in cell and organ cultures. In addition to its ability to cause readthrough of stop signals, the active agent PTC124 has also been demonstrated to be highly compatible with murine and human retina cultures. Moreover, the team managed for the first time to demonstrate readthrough of an eye mutation codon in vivo.

"PTC124 is already being tested in clinical trials for its efficacy in treating other diseases involving nonsense mutations, such as cystic fibrosis and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We therefore hope that this treatment approach will soon be ready for use in Usher syndrome patients," explains Dr Kerstin Nagel-Wolfrum.

Currently putting the finishing touches on his doctoral thesis, Tobias Goldmann is comparing the efficiency of the readthrough rate and the biocompatibility of other molecules that induce the readthrough of nonsense mutations. The focus is particularly on modified aminoglycosides, i.e. derivatives of commercially available and clinically tested antibiotics. These are being designed and synthesized by an Israeli cooperation partner, Professor Timor Bassov of the Haifa Technicon, and have already been successfully used by researchers in Mainz for readthrough of nonsense mutations in Usher genes. In addition to conducting further preclinical studies of the ocular applications of these new substances, the Usher laboratory in Mainz is planning to use this new method of treating this specific form of Usher syndrome in hospital patients as soon as possible.

The translational biomedical research on readthrough of nonsense mutations aimed at developing a treatment for Usher syndrome is being funded by the FAUN foundation and the "Syscilia" project of the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union. It is part of the Research Training Group 1044 "Developmental and Disease-Ind
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Contact: Dr. Kerstin Nagel-Wolfrum
nagelwol@uni-mainz.de
49-613-139-20131
Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
Source:Eurekalert

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