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UCSF teams tackle childhood mortality and river blindness
Date:1/10/2013

hnology uses plates with many hollows, or wells, each of which contains a candidate compound that is screened individually for promising activity. The new software allows an entire plate to be scanned for results in seconds. Scanning and evaluating a whole plate rather than individual wells is necessary, McKerrow explained, because of the large size of the worms, which restrict each plate to dozens rather than hundreds of wells.

"With conventional, well-by-well scanning, it would take a long time to screen many compounds," said McKerrow. "But if you can scan a whole plate and then move on to the next plate in a few seconds, you can filter through thousands of compounds much more efficiently."

The compounds will come from two sources. The first is what McKerrow calls traditional drug discovery, which starts from chemicals that aren't yet drugs. That research will take advantage of unique chemistry developed by Bay Area biotech company Anacor Pharmaceuticals. The second source is "repurposed drugs" that have already been approved by the FDA for human use. Working in collaboration with the UCSF Small Molecule Discovery Center, McKerrow's group expects to create a library of approximately 1,700 FDA-approved drugs that can be used in this and similar screens.

Based on earlier research, the team already has identified a promising possibility: auranofin, a drug used for decades to treat rheumatoid arthritis, which has proven effective in animal models of filariasis. McKerrow said he expects to have one or two clinical candidates drugs that are ready for final FDA testing and potential approval in three years.


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Contact: Kristen Bole
kristen.bole@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert  

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