Professor David Craik and Dr Richard Clark from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience have received $218,275 from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to aid in translating their research into a product available for Australians to use.
Studies on the molecule they have developed have shown that it is effective in relieving neuropathic pain in animals.
“Neuropathic pain is one of the most severe forms of chronic pain, and very difficult to treat,” Dr Clark said.
“Regular pain occurs when the nervous system is stimulated by, for example, an injury, whereas neuropathic pain occurs when the nervous system itself is damaged.”
“Current treatments in neuropathic pain only provide meaningful relief for one in three patients, and all of the current market-leading drugs have serious side effects, as well as taking up to three weeks to begin to take effect.”
Peptides (small proteins) from cone snail venom have attracted recent attention from scientists, as they can target receptors with a high degree of accuracy, thus eliminating severe side effects.
But peptides also degrade rapidly in the body. Professor Craik and Dr Clark have overcome this problem by engineering a circular peptide, using a circular protein backbone discovered by Professor Craik and found in plants such as violets.
The NHMRC Development grant will allow the researchers to further test their molecule to fully establish its therapeutic potential.
“Successful outcomes from this project will provide additional confirmation of the suitability of our molecule as a treatment for neuropathic pain,” Dr Clark said.
“Armed with these data, we will be able to secure a commercial partner and develop this molecule into a tablet for sufferers of chronic pain.”
The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
Party discipline for jumping genes
22.09.2017 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy