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New class of drugs for the reversible inhibition of proteasomes
Date:11/22/2011

This press release is available in German.

As the "recycling plant" of the cell, the proteasome regulates vitally important functions. When it is inhibited, the cell chokes on its own waste. Cancer cells, in particular, are very sensitive because they need the proteasome for their uncontrolled growth. Biochemists at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) have now identified the lead structure of a new class of drugs that attacks the proteasome in an unusual way. New medication could be developed on the basis of this previously unknown binding mechanism. The scientists report their results in the scientific journal Angewandte Chemie.

The proteasome, a large protein complex, carries out a vitally important function in the cells of the body. Similar to a recycling plant, it decomposes unneeded proteins into short pieces and recycles them. In this way it controls a number of functions in the cell. It regulates cell growth and division, decomposes damaged proteins and also acts as a key partner of the immune system in immune defense and inflammatory reactions. Because it is involved in so many important mechanisms within the cell, the proteasome is also associated with many diseases such as cancer, mucoviscidosis and a whole series of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease.

Due to its significant role in the growth of cancer cells, in recent years the proteasome has taken center stage in pharmacological research as a starting point for cancer medication. When it becomes inhibited, the growth of cancer cells slows down. Bortezomib, the first drug to apply this strategy, generates revenues of over one billion US dollars per year in the meantime. It is used against multiple myeloma, a cancer disease of the bone marrow. Yet in spite of all its successes, the proteasome inhibitors currently in use often h
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Contact: Dr. Andreas Battenberg
battenberg@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0510
Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Source:Eurekalert  

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