Navigation Links
New technique for developing drugs to treat serious illnesses

An international team of researchers led by the University of Leicester has "harnessed the power of evolution" to create a new drug for possible use against heart disease, inflammation and other illnesses.

Researchers in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Department of Biochemistry at the University of Leicester, together with colleagues in Cambridge, the USA and Italy, have employed a new technique to create protein-based drugs.

According to Professor Nick Brindle, the lead researcher: "This technique harnesses the power of evolution to engineer specific functions into a protein, such as the ability to neutralise a toxin or to activate healing.

"This involves making a particular cell type generate millions of different variants of our protein, selecting the variants that have improved properties and then repeating the cycle until the protein has been changed to a form with the exact properties we want."

To show how the method works, the group took a protein normally found in the body and evolved it into a form that can block a molecule involved in blood vessel growth and inflammation.

This new protein, called a ligand-trap, is now being developed as a potential therapeutic for treating heart disease, inflammation and other illnesses.

Said Professor Brindle: "The idea that you can evolve proteins into forms that do what you want is not new, but it has been very difficult to do this for many of the complex proteins that we want to use as drugs or for other applications.

"This new approach promises to make engineering of such proteins not only possible but relatively easy. In addition to medicine, these specifically evolved 'designer proteins' have a wide range of applications in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries.

"This is a big step forward. We are hoping that, over the next five years or so, this new protein can be developed into a form that could be used to treat inflammation and other conditions."

The work, being published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), MRC and the Wellcome Trust. The Leicester team collaborated principally with Dr Julian Sale at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, with additional input from Dr Hiroshi Arakawa in Italy and Dr Jean-Marie Buerstedde at Yale.

Professor Brindle said: "We are really excited about getting this technique to work and are already using it to make other new molecules that we think will be useful to people. It was a real bonus for us to be able to evolve the ligand trap using the technique as this trap targets a molecule that is involved in a whole range of health problems."


Contact: Nick Brindle
University of Leicester

Related biology news :

1. Novel technique for suturing tissue-engineered collagen graft improves tendon repair
2. EUREKA grant to fund development of new optogenetic technique for mapping neural networks at UMMS
3. Research reveals bottom feeding techniques of tagged humpback whales in Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary
4. New technique for measuring tree growth cuts down on research time
5. New gene repair technique promises advances in regenerative medicine
6. First child born following embryo screening with new genome analysis technique
7. New palm-sized microarray technique grows 1,200 individual cultures of microbes
8. UMass Amherst researchers develop powerful new technique to study protein function
9. Computer modeling technique goes viral at Brandeis
10. CLEO: 2013 press luncheon spotlights new techniques in optofluidics, temporal cloaking, cryolasers
11. New screening technique paves the way for protein drugs from bacteria
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New technique for developing drugs to treat serious illnesses
(Date:11/10/2015)... YORK , Nov. 10, 2015 ... to behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and ... fraud. Signature is considered as the secure and ... the identification of a particular individual because each ... more accurate results especially when dynamic signature of ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... York , November 4, 2015 ... a new market report published by Transparency Market Research "Home ... Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global home ... US$ 30.3 bn by 2022. The market is estimated ... forecast period from 2015 to 2022. Rising security needs ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... JOLLA, Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015  The ... a new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons ... well the Department of Health and Human Services guidance ... issued in 2010. --> ... but it also has the potential to pose unique ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Park Systems , world ... scanning ion conductance microscopy module to Park NX10 that is the only product ... SICM benefits virtually all materials characterization that require measurements in liquid such as ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Texas (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... , a leading relationship marketing company specializing in scientifically backed, age-defying products, ... January 2016 issue, which highlights the exponential success and unrivaled opportunities that ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 Cepheid ... of its participation at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference ... this morning, the Company is reaffirming its outlook for ... for 2016, in addition to discussing longer term business ... and Chief Executive Officer.  "We continue to be the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The American Society of Gynecologic ... Kyle Mathews will join fellow surgeons in the shared pursuit of “advancing ... experienced urogynecologist, founder of Plano Urogynecology Associates and Fellow of the American ...
Breaking Biology Technology: