Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hot road to new drugs: Efficient identification of drug candidates

Date:
March 6, 2010
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Summary:
The quest for new drugs is generally a lengthy and costly undertaking. Researchers in Germany have now come up with a simpler and more efficient way of going about it. Not only pharmaceutical research but also medical diagnostics and the environment stand to benefit from the new work.

The search for new therapeutic agents is time-consuming and expensive. Pharmaceutical companies may have to screen thousands of compounds for the ability to bind a target molecule before they hit upon a promising drug candidate.

A group of Biophysicists at LMU Munich led by Professor Dieter Braun, a member of the Cluster of Excellence "Nanosystems Initiative Munich" (NIM), and a partner in NanoTemper (an LMU spin-off), have now developed a unique technology called "microscale thermophoresis" that allows to measure intereactions under close-to-native conditions, thus improving the decision making process in drug development.

The technique takes advantage of the Soret effect -- the tendency of molecules to drift along temperature gradients, usually from warm to cold. If a compound encounters and binds to another molecule, its thermophoretic parameters change, and its trajectory may even be reversed. This phenomenon can be exploited to determine whether a molecule that is known to play a causative role in a given disease binds to a test substance. In the test, which can be carried out directly on blood samples, the thermodiffusion of a labelled biomolecule of interest is measured in the presence and absence of a candidate binding agent. If the two bind together to form a complex, the resulting change in their thermophoretic behaviour can be detected.

"Detection of binding activity is the first step on the road to a new drug," says Braun. "The new method also has potential applications in medical diagnostics, and in food and environmental monitoring."

The procedures conventionally used to identify candidate drugs are normally carried out in artificial buffer solutions, and the results often have little relationship to a compound's binding affinity for its target in the blood.

The new thermophoretic technique, on the other hand, allows one to perform the binding test directly in a blood sample and therefore gives more reliable results. The substance to be tested is mixed with a blood sample containing a target that is known to be associated with a disease state and has been labelled with a fluorescent tag. A tiny drop of the mixture is taken up into a thin glass capillary tube, and a focused beam of IR-laser light is used to heat a small volume of the solution in the middle of the tube. This gives rise to a temperature gradient that falls off towards the outside. The response of the labelled molecule to the variation in temperature can then be followed using fluorescence methods.

Upon heating of the sample, it immediately becomes apparent whether or not the fluorescent target-molecules in the sample behave differently in the presence of the drug test compound than they do in its absence. Any difference in thermophoresis between the two samples indicates that the test substance binds to the labelled target, and provides the first hint that it may have therapeutic potential.

"Our method will not only be a boon to drug discovery," says Braun. "It can also be used in medical diagnostics, food testing and environmental monitoring. One could, for instance, employ it to diagnose autoimmune diseases and infections, or as the basis for a rapid test for the presence of antibiotics in milk or toxic substances in water."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Philipp Baaske, Christoph J. Wienken, Philipp Reineck, Stefan Duhr und Dieter Braun. Optical Thermophoresis for Quantifying the Buffer Dependence of Aptamer Binding. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2010; NA DOI: 10.1002/anie.200903998

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. "Hot road to new drugs: Efficient identification of drug candidates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224102229.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. (2010, March 6). Hot road to new drugs: Efficient identification of drug candidates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224102229.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. "Hot road to new drugs: Efficient identification of drug candidates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224102229.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins