Navigation Links
UGA discovery promises to improve drugs used to fight cancer, other diseases

Athens, Ga. Even when at rest, the human body is a flurry of activity. Like a microscopic metropolis locked in a state of perpetual rush hour traffic, the trillions of cells that make us who we are work feverishly policing the streets, making repairs, building new structures and delivering important cargo throughout the bustling organic society.

For everything to work properly there must be something to organize and direct the various workers. Enter protein kinases. Like specialized traffic signals, this huge class of proteins is critical for many aspects of cell communication, telling them when to begin work and when to stop.

Now, University of Georgia researchers have discovered that a little-studied part of the protein kinases that once appeared non-functional may actually control the most critical functions of the entire molecule. Their research promises to help improve drugs used to fight a variety of life-threatening diseases, from diabetes to cancer.

"The overall goal of this project was to better understand how these proteins function and what mechanisms control their function," said Natarajan Kannan, a Georgia Cancer Coalition Distinguished Scholar and assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "Our research shows that these little-studied dark regions of the protein are directly affecting the molecule's function."

Normally functioning protein kinases perform duties central to the everyday cellular operations within our bodies, but when they become dysfunctional, they can play a major role in the development of numerous serious diseases, including Alzheimer's, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many forms of cancer.

Scientists have recognized the value of the proteins as therapeutic targets for decades, and numerous drugs, known as protein kinase inhibitors, are commonly prescribed in an attempt to slow or stop the rogue kinases that cause disease. The UGA team hopes its discovery will not only lead to new therapies but also help improve those already in existence.

"This opens a new front on the battle against many diseases, particularly cancer," said Krishnadev Oruganty, a postdoctoral research associate in biochemistry and molecular biology and lead author of a paper detailing the discovery published on Dec. 31 in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

Developing entirely new drugs is an extraordinarily lengthy and expensive process, but this new understanding of how protein kinases switch between "on" and "off" states will make it possible for researchers to modify existing drugs to make them perform better without significant investment.

"These are a very important class of proteins for biomedical industries, and the pharmaceutical industry has already invested billions of dollars in drugs that target these proteins," said Kannan, who is part of the UGA Cancer Center and the Institute of Bioinformatics. "This discovery will have a huge impact on how pharmaceutical companies develop drugs, because subtle modifications of these drugs will make it easier to control them, which will boost their effectiveness."

Kannan and the interdisciplinary team of UGA researchers working on the project are already beginning to design drugs that can selectively inhibit the rogue proteins that cause disease, but they caution that more research is needed to perfect their approach.

Nevertheless, they are confident that this discovery will have a profound impact on the pharmaceutical industry, and on the understanding of the elementary components of life.

"Every fundamental signaling pathway in our cells is controlled by these proteins," Kannan said. "Gaining a deeper understanding of how these kinases work will open doors to a myriad of important new discoveries."


Contact: Natarajan Kannan
University of Georgia

Related medicine news :

1. Life Sciences Discovery Fund makes grants to commercialize health-related technologies
2. Discovery in Ghent could improve screening for sudden cardiac death
3. UAlberta medical researchers make key discovery in fight against Alzheimers disease
4. DNA packaging discovery reveals principles by which CRC mutations may cause cancer
5. Pancreas stem cell discovery may lead to new diabetes treatments
6. New, improved mouse model of human Alzheimers may enable drug discovery
7. Cell death discovery suggests new ways to protect female fertility
8. Discovery of essential genes for drug-resistant bacteria reveals new, high-value drug targets
9. UGA chemistry discovery could have major medical implications
10. Astex, CRT and the Institute of Cancer Research announce epigenetic drug discovery collaboration
11. Genetic discovery in Montreal for a rare disease in Newfoundland
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Sir Grout of Greater Boston donated an expansive, seven room ... McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®). This donation was made in an effort to give back ... its inception. , “We believe strongly in the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and they ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2015 ... ... launch of its newest technology platform, ENGAGE, at HIMSS’s Patient Engagement Summit ... to end. , ENGAGE delivers innovative health programs and interventions via mobile devices ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Element Blue ™, a leading IT ... RightSensor™ LLC, an Internet of Things (IoT) hardware supplier that delivers custom and ... for customers requiring sensor hardware for critical data environments. , RightSensor™, working with ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... NavaFit Inc. today announced the launch of its ... with, participate in local fitness & sporting events, and stay motivated. Users ... medical costs drive us to get more serious about fitness and wellness, individuals are ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, ... ... Postnatal Omega-3, a first-of-its kind product that targets the unique health needs ... Omega-3” of the American Pregnancy Association ( ), utilizes Nordic Naturals’ ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13, 2015  Mylan N.V. (Nasdaq: ... 5:00 p.m. ET host a conference call and webcast to ... plc (NYSE: PRGO ; TASE) shareholders through Mylan,s offer ... Mylan,s Executive Chairman Robert J. Coury , CEO ... --> --> Mylan will ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... -- Synapse Biomedical Inc. ( ) reported today that ... use of the NeuRx ® Diaphragm Pacing System ... the United States and patient ... PAS study group met their initial enrollment goal ahead ... expanded the enrollment target to 150 participants.   ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... COLLEGE PARK, Md. , Oct. 13, 2015 ... hubs is the biggest key to growing Baltimore ... to a report released today by the Maryland Technology ... already has many of the pieces in place to support ... Martha Connolly , director of Mtech Baltimore. "This study is ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: