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Proteomics Study Reveals That Genes Involved in Invertebrate Longevity Have Surprising Parallels in Humans.

SALT LAKE CITY, March 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Prolexys Pharmaceuticals announced today the publication of the discovery of genes that are likely to have a role in the aging process of humans. The findings result from research on the human equivalents of proteins from simple animals which confer long life in those species. The evidence suggests that these proteins are more likely to interact with other proteins in a large atlas of mapped interactions. Furthermore, the investigators were able to show that the protein associations also correlate with differences in gene expression between young and old humans. Though the existence of longevity-extending genes has been known for experimental organisms such as yeast, roundworms and flies, this is the first demonstration that similar genes have a role in the aging process of humans.

The proteins involved are defined as a network of 175 human equivalents of known invertebrate longevity genes and 2163 additional proteins in a complex network involving 3271 interactions. The research, published in the March 13, 2009 issue of PLoS Genetics, was a collaboration of scientists at Prolexys, The Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California, University of California in Berkeley and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

"This work continues to demonstrate that high-throughput screening for protein interactions combined with genetic and functional validation provides an opportunity to investigate complex biological processes such as aging. Furthermore, we would like to encourage scientists interested in aging and longevity to mine these data made available in the study," said Dr. Sudhir Sahasrabudhe, Chief Scientific Officer of Prolexys Pharmaceuticals.

"This establishes a similarity in aging process among diverse species that is perhaps a lot broader than many of us may have expected," says Robert Hughes, lead author of the study.

About Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.:

Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering small molecule drugs that act at novel therapeutic targets. The Company's current therapeutic focus is on cancer. Prolexys scientists have developed proprietary proteomics-related techniques to rapidly and accurately identify drug candidates that interact with targets of interest. The result of targeted drug discovery work at Prolexys is a pipeline of product candidates with high value in areas of unmet medical need. Lead programs include:

a) A solid tumor oncology program in Phase 1 clinical trials with a small molecule, PRLX 93936, which targets advanced solid tumors that are otherwise refractory to the standard of care therapies.

b) A colon cancer program with novel small molecule compounds targeting the beta-catenin signaling cascade.

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About the Buck Institute:

The Buck Institute is the only freestanding institute in the United States that is devoted solely to basic research on aging and age-associated disease. The Institute is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to extending the healthspan, the healthy years of each individual's life. The National Institute on Aging designated the Buck a "Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Biology of Aging," one of just five centers in the country. Buck Institute scientists work in an innovative, interdisciplinary setting to understand the mechanisms of aging and to discover new ways of detecting, preventing and treating conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. Collaborative research at the Institute is supported by new developments in genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics technology. For more information:

SOURCE Prolexys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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