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Wistar receives $4.7 million to develop drug against Epstein-Barr virus-related cancers
Date:12/15/2011

expressed consistently in all EBV-related cancer and is essential for the virus to reproduce," said Lieberman. "Knocking out EBNA1, therefore, could likely eliminate latent Epstein-Barr virus and control the growth of EBV-associated cancer."

Lieberman heads Wistar's Center for Chemical Biology and Translational Medicine, a team of researchers whose mission is to develop promising basic research findings into new therapeutics to fight disease, particularly cancer.

To develop an anti-EBV drug, the researchers began a complex screening process to find a small molecule that could chemically bind to EBNA1 and inhibit its ability to function. They began with a library of 600,000 molecular compounds, eventually narrowing the pool down through a series of tests to a handful of leading candidate molecules that have the most potential to serve as the basis of new anti-EBV drug.

With funds from the Wellcome Trust, the Wistar researchers will further optimize their candidate small molecule inhibitors, with the aim of developing at least one chemical compound into a viable drug candidate. This drug candidate could then be used in clinical trials designed to determine its safety and effectiveness for humans.

"This is an investment in drug discovery, enabling a small team of experts to do the type of translational research typically seen in large drug companies," said Messick. "If successful with the translational research funded by the Wellcome Trust, the program will be in a position to attract a commercial partner to undertake further clinical development."
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Contact: Greg Lester
glester@wistar.org
215-898-3943
The Wistar Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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Wistar receives $4.7 million to develop drug against Epstein-Barr virus-related cancers
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