Navigation Links
Tufts University chemist earns prestigious award for promising research on drug development
Date:11/12/2010

MEDFORD/SOMERVILE, Mass. Joshua Kritzer, assistant professor in the School of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry at Tufts University, has been awarded one of 33 NIH Director's New Innovator Awards, one of the most prestigious grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH Director's New Innovator Award program is designed specifically to support unusually creative new investigators with highly innovative research ideas at an early stage of their career. Awards recognize the potential of projects to have a significant impact on important biomedical or behavioral research problems.

The $1.5 million grant will fund Kritzer's research into a rapid drug-screening process that may help scientists identify new drugs to treat diseases. Scientists today face a fundamental problem in the drug discovery process. Up to 90 percent of the human proteins, including many that cause cancer and other diseases, are difficult to target through traditional methods of screening.

Adapting his previous work at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Kritzer is able to use baker's yeast to produce large collections of molecules called cyclic peptides. To do this, Kritzer inserted short snippets of DNA into the yeast cells that direct them to make the cyclic peptides. The cells then synthesize tens of millions of different cyclic peptides that can be directly tested for anti-cancer or other activities.

Cyclic peptides are important because they can bind with disease-causing proteins that scientists previously have been unable to target because they do not possess "active sites" or pockets that can easily bind with inhibitory drugs. As a result, drug developers have largely ignored these proteins, says Kritzer. "They are considered undruggable targets, but they include some of the most direct causes of cancer, inflammation and other diseases," he says.

Kritzer will focus his technology on a specific group of proteins called transcription factors, which are in charge of turning genes on and off. "Cancer involves cell growth pathways that are getting turned on when they should be off," says Kritzer, and thus many transcription factors are known to be overactive in human cancers. For his research Kritzer will target three transcription factors implicated in cancer -- Myc, STAT3 and HSF1.

Kritzer can use yeast cells not only to make the cyclic peptides but also to sift through them to find those that inhibit these critical cancer proteins. In this manner, Kritzer notes, "we can screen up to 50 million new molecules for activity in living cells in a single week."

These new molecules will then be used as tools to understand how transcription factors contribute to cancer and other diseases. They may even form the basis for designing drugs that target these important but overlooked proteins.


'/>"/>

Contact: Alex Reid
alexander.reid@tufts.edu
617-627-4173
Tufts University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Tufts graduate students win $10,000 prizes
2. Tufts wins NCRR grant for Collaborative Cluster in Genome Structure and Developmental Patterning
3. Tufts students host Earth Day with groundbreaking ceremony for solar house
4. Tufts University professor receives IADR Pharmacology/Therapeutics/Toxicology Award
5. Tufts University Prof. Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos named as AAAS Fellow
6. Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University receives HFSP Nakasone Award
7. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union Deploys DigitalPersona Pro to Simplify Password Management and Strengthen Security
8. Columbia University Medical Center announces 2010 Katz Prizes in cardiovascular research
9. University of Illinois researchers discover potential new virus in switchgrass
10. Texas A&M University becomes key player in global study to save Earths endangered species
11. Falling in love more scientific than you think, according to Syracuse University professor
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/17/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), ... Report on Form 10-K on Thursday April 13, 2017 with the ... The ... section of the Company,s website at http://www.nxt-id.com  under "SEC Filings," ... 2016 Year Highlights: Acquisition of ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/26/2017)... July 26, 2017  Nurse practitioners play a crucial role ... of a Merck Manuals survey released today. The ... revealed that most (88 percent) believe they spend at least ... prescriptions. ... Merck Manuals survey of 210 nurse practitioners finds ...
(Date:7/24/2017)... , July 24, 2017 Intralytix, Inc. announced ... from Lesaffre, a French family group. This investment marks ... to develop and commercialize bacteriophage-based products, for various benefits ... interest. As ... designs manufactures and markets innovative solutions for baking, food ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... , ... Dr. Asher Kimchi, Founder and Chairman of the International Academy ... the 22nd World Congress on Heart Disease held in Vancouver, BC, Canada. In addition ... Fellowship Awards. , Dr. Asher Kimchi, together with Co-Chairmen Dr. John A. Elefteriades and ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 20, 2017 , ... Corporate Directors ... at its 27th annual Director of the Year Awards. , The awards will be ... Jolla. This annual event celebrates directors who have made significantly positive contributions in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: