Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Synthetic molecules may be less expensive alternative to therapeutic antibodies

08.04.2008
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have developed a simple and inexpensive method to screen small synthetic molecules and pull out a handful that might treat cancer and other diseases less expensively than current methods.

In one screen of more than 300,000 such molecules, called peptoids, the new technique quickly singled out five promising candidates that mimicked an antibody already on the market for treating cancer. One of the compounds blocked the growth of human tumors in a mouse model.

Antibodies are molecules produced by the body to help ward off infection. Natural and manmade antibodies work by latching onto very specific targets such as receptors on the surface of cells.

“Many new drugs being made today are antibodies, but they are extremely expensive to make. Financially, the U.S. health care system is going to have a difficult time accommodating the next 500 drugs being antibodies,” said Dr. Thomas Kodadek, chief of translational research at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study, which appears online and in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

“Our results show that a peptoid can attack a harmful receptor in the body with the same precision as an antibody, but would cost much less to develop,” said Dr. Kodadek.

... more about:
»Antibodies »Kodadek »VEGFR2 »expensive »peptoid

Peptoids are designed in the laboratory to resemble chains of natural molecules called peptides. Some peptides are used as medications, such as insulin or antibodies used to treat some cancers, but because the stomach digests them, most can’t be taken by mouth and must be injected.

By contrast, peptoids are resistant to the stomach enzymes that degrade natural peptides, so it is possible that they could be swallowed as a pill. Peptoids are much less expensive and easier to manufacture than antibodies, Dr. Kodadek said. They are also much smaller than antibodies, so they might be better at penetrating tumors or other disease sites, he said.

“Our technique is simple and fast, works with existing chemicals and needs no high-tech instrumentation, except for a microscope to detect the fluorescent colors we use to sort the compounds,” said Dr. D. Gomika Udugamasooriya, postdoctoral researcher in internal medicine and lead author of the study.

The new technique also has major advantages over traditional screening techniques that are commonly used to discover biologically active compounds from large collections. These screens, which require extensive automation, generally cost $40,000 or more; the new method can be conducted for less than $1,000.

The researchers screened about 300,000 peptoids to see which ones would interact with VEGFR2, a type of molecule on the surface of human cells. VEGFR2 is essential in creating new blood vessels through interaction with the hormone VEGF, which is normally a helpful process but is harmful to the body when the new blood vessels are nourishing a growing tumor.

A commercially produced antibody is used to treat some cancers by blocking the VEGF-VEGFR2 interaction and thus starving the tumor, but it costs a patient about $20,000 a year, Dr. Kodadek said.

The new screening technology involves hundreds of thousands of peptoids, bound to tiny plastic beads. In the study, the cells with VEGFR2 were labeled to fluoresce red and those lacking VEGFR2 were labeled to fluoresce green. After exposing the beads to the mixture of cells, the beads were examined under a fluorescent microscope. Those bound to red cells — the ones with VEGFR2 — were collected.

This screen, which took a couple of days, isolated five peptoids out of approximately 300,000 screened, showing that the process was an effective way to quickly narrow down a search, Dr. Kodadek said.

The researchers further tested one of the five peptoids that bound most tightly to VEGFR2 and found that it blocked VEGFR2’s action in cultured cells. When they gave it in low doses to mice with implanted human bone- and soft-tissue cancer, the peptoid slowed the growth of the tumors and reduced the density of blood vessels leading to them.

“This new technique of rapidly isolating biologically active peptoids offers a way to hasten the drug-discovery process and may ultimately benefit patients by providing them with new therapies at a fraction of the cost of current drugs,” Dr. Kodadek said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers who participated in the study were general surgery resident Dr. Sean Dineen and Dr. Rolf Brekken, assistant professor of surgery.

The work was supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and The Welch Foundation.

Aline McKenzie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

Further reports about: Antibodies Kodadek VEGFR2 expensive peptoid

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>