Certain types of skin cancers and blindness due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic retinopathy are likely to be among the first uses for the drug. AMD is the most common cause of blindness in Australia (Macular Degeneration Foundation).
The experimental drug has already been shown to be effective on skin cancers in pre-clinical models, in another paper published this month by Professor Khachigian's team in the journal, Oncogene.
"This may be a 'one-size fits all' therapy, because it targets a master regulator gene called c-Jun which appears to be involved in all of these diseases," said UNSW Professor Levon Khachigian, of the Centre for Vascular Research (CVR), who is the senior author of the Nature Biotechnology paper.
"c-Jun is an important disease-causing gene," said Professor Khachigian, a molecular biologist. "It stands out because we don't see much of it in normal tissue but it is highly expressed in diseased blood vessels, eyes, lungs, joints, and in the gut – in any number of areas involving inflammation and aggressive vascular growth.
"Our experimental drug, Dz13, is like a secret agent that finds its target, c-Jun, within the cell and destroys it," he said. "It is a specific, pre-programmed 'molecular assassin'."
The paper in Nature Biotechnology shows the potential of c-Jun as a drug target in inflammation. It details tests in a variety of pre-clinical models showing how effective Dz13 is in problems such as eye disease and arthritis.
The next phase in the therapy's development would be a trial, involving up to 10 people with non-melanoma skin cancers. The tumours would be injected with the drug over an eight-week period.
"If such a trial were successful, it would be a significant development given the high rates of skin cancer and because the main treatment currently is surgical excision, which can cause scarring," said Professor Khachigian.
"Conventional anti-inflammatory drugs are associated with a whole host of side-effects. Our therapeutic may potentially avert some of these."
A third paper using the same technology, but focusing on a different master regulator, Egr-1, has also been published this month by Professor Khachigian's group in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis and shows that heart muscle damage is reduced by the drug after a heart attack.
Susi Hamilton | EurekAlert!
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy