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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Reports on the Growing Role of Ion-Channel Studies in Global Biotech R&D
Date:6/4/2008

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., June 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Ion-channel research is drawing increasing attention from a wide variety of life science investigators all over the globe, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN). Such interest is not surprising as ion channels play key roles in numerous biological processes such as neural signal transduction, cardiac, skeletal, and smooth muscle contraction, and epithelial transport of nutrients and ions, among others, according to an article in the June 1 issue of GEN (http://www.genengnews.com/articles/chitem.aspx?aid=2484).

"Research on ion channels has opened up possibilities for new ways to treat a host of diseases, including cancer, a malfunctioning immune system, and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders," notes John Sterling, Editor in Chief of GEN.

On the basic research side, Merritt Maduke, PhD, assistant professor in the department of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine, has built a lab focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the function of the CLC chloride channels, the largest molecular family of mammalian anion channels. Dr. Maduke's interest in the CLC family is that half of the members are chloride channels, while the other half are chloride-proton antiporters.

In the bioindustry, the real challenge in developing therapeutics based on ion-channel research is the size of ion-channel families and their widespread distribution. The ongoing focus for the development of therapeutics with channel specificity is to develop subtype selectivity to improve efficacy and reduce the impact of side effects.

At Devgen, the focus is on treatment for inflammatory and metabolic diseases and arrhythmia. Petra Blom, PhD, section leader within the medicinal chemistry group, and Titus Kaletta, PhD, head of preclinical development, are working on a project targeting the Kv4.3 ion channel. The goal of their work is to develop a first-in-class oral treatment for acute and chronic atrial fibrillation.

Also discussed in the GEN article is ion-channel work at Organon Laboratories, ChanTest, Molecular Devices and Axon Instruments (both now part of MDS Analytical Technologies), Sophion Bioscience, Nanion Technologies, and Flyion.

For a copy of the June 1 issue of GEN, please call 914.740.2122, or email: ebicovny@liebertpub.com

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (http://www.genengnews.com), which is published 21 times a year by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is the most widely read biotechnology news magazine worldwide. It includes articles on Drug Discovery, Bioprocessing, OMICS, Biobusiness, and Clinical Research and Diagnostics.

Contact: John Sterling

Editor in Chief

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

914.740.2196

jsterling@genengnews.com


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