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:4/13/2016)... 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in ... clinical standard in telehealth thanks to a new partnership ... platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely track key health measurements, ... index, and, when they opt in, share them with ... a local retail location at no cost. By leveraging ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has ... CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who returned to ... the original technical leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, ... Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President of Software ... the company. Dr. Bready served as CEO ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 ... kombiniert im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ... heute bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro ... insbesondere aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... TORONTO , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - ... Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon ... the development and commercialization of a portfolio of ... cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an ... contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Houston ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve as ... the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide sponsorship ... and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes and ... with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to bring ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased ... and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering ... debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing ... advance its drug development efforts, as well as purchase ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to us ... bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack ...
Breaking Biology Technology: