Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential new medicines show promise for treating colon cancer, asthma

Date:
March 29, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In what they described as the opening of a new era in the development of potentially life-saving new drugs, scientists have discovered of a way to tone down an overactive gene involved in colon cancer and block a key protein involved in asthma attacks. Those targets long had ranked among hundreds of thousands that many scientists considered to be "undruggable," meaning that efforts to reach them with conventional medicines were doomed to fail.

In what they described as the opening of a new era in the development of potentially life-saving new drugs, scientists report the discovery of a way to tone down an overactive gene involved in colon cancer and block a key protein involved in asthma attacks. Those targets long had ranked among hundreds of thousands that many scientists considered to be "undruggable," meaning that efforts to reach them with conventional medicines were doomed to fail.

"These substances represent an entirely new class of potential drugs," study leader Gregory Verdine, Ph.D., told the 241st National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society. "They herald a new era in the drug-discovery world."

Verdine cited estimates that conventional medicines, most of which belong to a family termed "small molecules," cannot have any effect on 80-90 percent of the proteins in the body known to be key players in disease. Throwing up their hands in frustration, scientists had even begun to term these prime targets for battling disease as "untouchables" and "undruggable."

The new substances are not small molecules, but "stapled peptides," named because they consist of protein fragments termed peptides outfitted with chemical braces or "staples." The stapling gives peptides a stronger, more stable architecture and the ability to work in ways useful in fighting disease.

"Our new stapled peptides can overcome the shortcomings of drugs of the past and target proteins in the body that were once thought to be undruggable," Verdine said. "They are a genuinely new frontier in medicine."

In one advance, Verdine and colleagues at Harvard University described development of the first stapled peptides that target colon cancer and asthma attacks. The colon cancer stapled peptides inhibit activity of a protein called beta-catenin that, when present in a hyperactive form, causes cells to grow in an aggressive and uncontrolled way. That protein normally helps keep certain cells, including those lining the colon, in good health. But the abnormal protein has been directly linked with an increased risk of colon cancer and other types of cancer, including those of the skin, brain, and ovaries.

When added to human colon cancer cells growing in laboratory cultures, the stapled peptides reduced the activity of beta-catenin by 50 percent. In patients, that level of reduction could be sufficient to have a beneficial impact on the disease, Verdine suggested.

Verdine also reported development of the first stapled cytokines, which show promise for fighting asthma. Cytokines are hormone-like proteins secreted by cells of the immune system and other body systems that help orchestrate the exchange of signals between cells. The stapled cytokines moderate the activity of a cytokine called interleukin-13, which asthma patients produce in abnormally large amounts that contribute to asthma attacks.

Current asthma drugs, he noted, tend to treat the underlying symptoms of asthma, particularly inflammation. By contrast, stapled cytokines could treat the underlying causes of the disease. Verdine's team is collaborating with a pharmaceutical firm on efforts to further develop the stapled peptides.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Potential new medicines show promise for treating colon cancer, asthma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161836.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, March 29). Potential new medicines show promise for treating colon cancer, asthma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161836.htm
American Chemical Society. "Potential new medicines show promise for treating colon cancer, asthma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110328161836.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Despite Health Questions, E-Cigs Are Beneficial: Study

Newsy (July 31, 2014) Citing 81 previous studies, new research out of London suggests the benefits of smoking e-cigarettes instead of regular ones outweighs the risks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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