Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technological breakthrough paves the way for better drugs

05.07.2013
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have developed the first method for directly measuring the extent to which drugs reach their targets in the cell. The method, which is described in the scientific journal Science, could make a significant contribution to the development of new, improved drug substances.

Most drugs operate by binding to one or more proteins and affecting their function, which creates two common bottlenecks in the development of drugs; identifying the right target proteins and designing drug molecules able to efficiently seek out and bind to them.


This illustration shows the path of a drug from a pill to a drug target.

Credit: Daniel Martinez Molina

No method has been available for directly measuring the efficiency of the drug molecules to locate and bind to its target protein. Now researchers from Karolinska Institutet have developed a new tool called CETSA (Cellular Thermal Shift Assay), which utilise the concept that target proteins usually get stabilised when drug molecules bind.

"We have shown that the method works on a wide variety of target proteins and allows us to directly measure whether the drug molecules reach their targets in cells and animal models," says lead investigator Professor Pär Nordlund of the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics. "We believe that CETSA will eventually help to improve the efficiency of many drugs and contribute to better drug molecules and more successful treatments."

The lack of methods to directly measure the binding of a drug to its target protein has caused a degree of uncertainty in many phases of drug development. In some cases, where drug candidates have not lived up to expectations in clinical trials on humans, it has transpired that the drug molecules have failed to bind to the right protein. The group behind the study believes that CETSA will be an important control stage and a complement to other methods.

In the present study, the researchers also examined processes that can lead to drug resistance in cells. The team believes that by virtue of its ability to determine whether existing drugs are suitable for individual patients, the method is of potential value to the practice of individualised treatment.

"We believe that the method can provide an important diagnostic tool in the treatment of cancer, for example, as CETSA can, in principle, enable us to determine which drug is most effective at targeting the proteins in the tumour," says Daniel Martinez Molina at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, who leads a team in the project aiming at establishing CETSA for patient studies. "This also makes it possible for clinicians to ascertain at an early stage of treatment whether the tumour has developed a certain kind of resistance and which type of therapy could then be more suitable for the patient."

The evaluation of CETSA has been conducted in collaboration with Yihai Cao's research group at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at Karolinska Institutet, Pelago Bioscience AB and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. Professor Pär Nordlund and Dr Daniel Martinez Molina are two of the founders of the company, which was also involved in the study. The project was financed by external grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society and the European Research Council.

Publication: 'Monitoring Drug Target Engagement in Cells and Tissues Using the Cellular Thermal Shift Assay', Daniel Martinez Molina, Rozbeh Jafari, Marina Ignatushchenko, Takahiro Seki, E. Andreas Larsson, Chen Dan, Lekshmy Sreekumar, Yihai Cao, Pär Nordlund, Science 5 July 2013.

Contact the Press Office and download images: ki.se/pressroom

Karolinska Institutet – a medical university: ki.se/english

Press Office | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ki.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>