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'Shapeshifting' computer program will open up drug discovery for tricky disease targets
Date:8/26/2013

ntricate set of mechanisms that regulate many of our critical functions by simply changing protein shape.

"In simple terms, these 'shapeshifter' mechanisms allow the proteins to modulate their biological activity by changing their surface character, rather like tectonic plates moving around the surface of the Earth. The more we understand these mechanisms, the more we can emulate what nature has already developed so elegantly.

"Diseases are often caused by certain molecules in the body being either too active or not active enough or by them operating in the wrong place at the wrong time. The new technology helps discovery of 'shapeshifting' drugs that can carefully adjust these biological molecules, bringing them under control and thus less likely to cause problems.

"We can use this knowledge, in the case of a specific disease, to help a key protein be more or less active when the system is not working optimally on its own."

Strathclyde Professor of Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery Portal Director, Simon Mackay added: "This is an exciting step towards rapidly and efficiently designing the next wave of innovative pharmaceuticals."

Dr John Wilson, of Strathclyde's Department of Computer and Information Sciences, said: "We've been able to understand how to optimise the SID algorithm such that it now provides a near real-time, three-dimensional, graphical output that makes it extremely easy for clients to quickly understand where to focus their efforts."

Serometrix Chief Executive Officer Mike Muehlemann said SID was already yielding promising early leads in the search for potential treatments for hypercholesterolemia high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. He added: "Drug discovery and development represents one of the toughest technical challenges of our times.

"We have partnered with Strathclyde because their SID technology is best-in-class and fits exceedingly well with our own technology. The promise of better pharmaceuticals
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Contact: Lachlan Mackinnon
lachlan.mackinnon@strath.ac.uk
44-014-154-84123
University of Strathclyde
Source:Eurekalert

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