Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Potential New Medicines Show Promise for Treating Colon Cancer, Asthma

In what they described as the opening of a new era in the development of potentially life-saving new drugs, scientists today reported 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, being held here this week. “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.

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

Michael Bernstein | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Here comes the long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
25.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques
25.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>