Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists invent advanced approach to identify new drug candidates from genome sequence

10.02.2014
As proof-of-principle, the team designs potent anti-cancer compound

In research that could ultimately lead to many new medicines, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a potentially general approach to design drugs from genome sequence. As a proof of principle, they identified a highly potent compound that causes cancer cells to attack themselves and die.


The new method identified a highly potent compound that causes cancer cells to attack themselves and die.

Credit: Image courtesy of the Disney lab, The Scripps Research Institute.

"This is the first time therapeutic small molecules have been rationally designed from only an RNA sequence—something many doubted could be done," said Matthew Disney, PhD, an associate professor at TSRI who led the study. "In this case, we have shown that that approach allows for specific and unprecedented targeting of an RNA that causes cancer."

The technique, described in the journal Nature Chemical Biology online ahead of print on February 9, 2014, was dubbed Inforna.

"With our program, we can identify compounds with high specificity," said Sai Pradeep Velagapudi, the first author of the study and a graduate student working in the Disney lab. "In the future, we hope we can design drug candidates for other cancers or for any pathological RNA."

In Search of New Approaches

In their research program, Disney and his team has been developing approaches to understand the binding of drugs to RNA folds. In particular, the lab is interested in manipulating microRNAs.

Discovered only in the 1990s, microRNAs are short molecules that work within virtually all animal and plant cells. Typically each one functions as a "dimmer switch" for one or more genes; it binds to the transcripts of those genes and effectively keeps them from being translated into proteins. In this way microRNAs can regulate a wide variety of cellular processes.

Some microRNAs have been associated with diseases. MiR-96 microRNA, for example, is thought to promote cancer by discouraging a process called apoptosis or programmed cell death that can rid the body of cells that begin to grow out of control.

As part of its long-term program, the Disney lab developed computational approaches that can mine information against such genome sequences and all cellular RNAs with the goal of identifying drugs that target such disease-associated RNAs while leaving others unaffected.

"In recent years we've seen an explosion of information about the many roles of RNA in biology and medicine," said Peter Preusch, PhD, of the National Institute of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially funded the research. "This new work is another example of how Dr. Disney is pioneering the use of small molecules to manipulate disease-causing RNAs, which have been underexplored as potential drug targets."

'Unprecedented' Findings

In the new study, Disney and colleagues describe their computational technique, which identifies optimal drug targets by mining a database of drug-RNA sequence ("motif") interactions against thousands of cellular RNA sequences.

Using Inforna, the team identified compounds that can target microRNA-96, as well as additional compounds that target nearly two dozen other disease-associated microRNAs.

The researchers showed that the drug candidate that inhibited microRNA-96 inhibited cancer cell growth. Importantly, they also showed that cells without functioning microRNA-96 were unaffected by the drug.

"This illustrates an unparalleled selectivity for the compound," Disney noted. "In contrast, typical cancer therapeutics target cells indiscriminately, often leading to side effects that can make these drugs difficult for patients to tolerate."

Disney added that the new drug candidate, which is easy to produce and cell permeable, targets microRNA-96 far more specifically than the state-of-the-art method to target RNA (using oligonucleotides) currently in use. "That's unprecedented and provides great excitement for future developments."

In addition to Disney and Velagapudi, Steven M. Gallo of the University of Buffalo was an author of the study, "Sequence-Based Design of Bioactive Small Molecules That Target Precursor MicroRNAs."

The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01GM097455) and the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Eric Sauter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New type of photosynthesis discovered
17.06.2018 | Imperial College London

nachricht New ID pictures of conducting polymers discover a surprise ABBA fan
17.06.2018 | University of Warwick

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A sprinkle of platinum nanoparticles onto graphene makes brain probes more sensitive

15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?

15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Perovskite-silicon solar cell research collaboration hits 25.2% efficiency

15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>