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Step toward medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered 'undruggable'

Date:
April 30, 2013
Source:
University of Essex
Summary:
Scientists have made a further step towards the potential future development of medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered “undruggable”.

Scientists at the University of Essex have made a further step towards the potential future development of medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered "undruggable."

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, relates to a protein known as Activator Protein-1 (AP-1) which is linked to a number of different cancers. AP-1 consists of two proteins which bind to DNA and lead to cell growth. Normally AP-1 functions by helping cells to grow and divide but when there is an abundance of this protein it can lead to cancers forming.

The research team's study at Essex, led by Dr Jody Mason from the School of Biological Sciences, involved using a very small modified protein known as a "helix-constrained peptide" to block the two proteins in AP-1 from binding to each other. By preventing binding, these "interfering peptides" stop the protein from functioning, and therefore harness the potential to prevent cancers forming.

There is a real need for drug development in this area as the result could lead to curing or modifying a whole range of protein-based diseases which currently cannot be treated with traditional small molecule medicine.

As Dr Mason explained, it is hoped this research will better inform the development of peptide-based drugs where AP-1 is involved.

The research, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK, has also involved Professor David Fairlie from the University of Queensland.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Essex. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tara Rao, Gloria Ruiz-Gσmez, Timothy A. Hill, Huy N. Hoang, David P. Fairlie, Jody M. Mason. Truncated and Helix-Constrained Peptides with High Affinity and Specificity for the cFos Coiled-Coil of AP-1. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (3): e59415 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0059415

Cite This Page:

University of Essex. "Step toward medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered 'undruggable'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430091644.htm>.
University of Essex. (2013, April 30). Step toward medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered 'undruggable'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430091644.htm
University of Essex. "Step toward medicines to help combat a range of diseases currently considered 'undruggable'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130430091644.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

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