Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New drug strategies for Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis examined at UH

21.10.2011
Researchers discuss 'pushing limits' in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery article

Researchers at the University of Houston (UH) are recommending a new strategy for developing drugs to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's and cardiovascular diseases.

In an invited review published in the October issue of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, scientists at the Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling (CNRCS) at UH outline the results of years of research following the team's 1996 discovery of the estrogen receptor beta (ERβ).

"We have known for some time that female sex hormones – estrogens – influence a number of functions in the human body," said Dr. Jan-Åke Gustafsson, UH professor and CNRCS director. "Only recently have we and others found that one of the estrogen receptors – ERβ – is a potential target for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases."

Gustafsson is best known as a leading expert on estrogen receptors, being credited with the earlier discovery of ERβ during his tenure at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. In Houston since 2009, Gustafsson has hand-selected a team of experts to build on his initial breakthrough. For this latest review, the team was invited to share the most recent results of their research.

The two estrogen receptors, estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and ERβ, have their effects on cells via activation by hormones circulating in the body. The influence of these receptors in the human body spans such diverse functions as fertility, metabolism, and the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Due to their expanded role in human health, these receptors represent an ideal target for drugs and therapeutic treatments.

Studies conducted following Gustafsson's discovery of ERβ have shown intriguing differences in tissue distribution and gene regulation when compared to the role of ERα. There has since been an intense effort in both academia and industry to develop ERβ-specific research tools and potential therapeutics for a multitude of conditions.

One successful example of using ERβ as a drug target has proven the receptor as an effective cancer cell combatant in breast cancer tissue. Closer examination of human breast cancer cell lines determined that, while ERα alone may stimulate the development of tumors, the combined presence of ERα and ERβ reduced and prevented tumor development.

"These modulators are well-established in the treatment of breast cancer and osteoporosis," Gustafsson said. "We now are pushing the limits of their influence to develop new treatments and ultimately save lives."

CNRCS researchers continue to examine the two estrogen receptor subtypes in various animal disease models, focused on identifying therapeutic opportunities. ERβ remains the most likely target for expanding treatments beyond breast cancer. The widespread involvement of ERβ presents the greatest probability for impacting these other diseases. Early results indicate that the selective activation of ERβ may represent a safe, disease-modifying therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Collaborators included Konrad F. Koehler and Stefan Nilsson of Karo Bio, a pharmaceutical company in Sweden. Gustafsson's research is funded by the Texas Emerging Technology Fund, the Robert A. Welch Foundation and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas. An abstract is available online at http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v10/n10/abs/nrd3551.html, and the review is highlighted in the journal's "Patent Watch" column at http://www.nature.com/nrd/journal/v10/n10/full/nrd3574.html#Oestrogen-receptor-modulators.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 38,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

About the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

The UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, with 181 ranked faculty and approximately 4,500 students, offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the natural sciences, computational sciences and mathematics. Faculty members in the departments of biology and biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematics and physics conduct internationally recognized research in collaboration with industry, Texas Medical Center institutions, NASA and others worldwide.

About the UH Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling

Established in 2009, the University of Houston Center for Nuclear Receptors and Cell Signaling (CNRCS) is the centerpiece of the university's tier-one biomedical research initiative and member of the internationally renowned Texas Medical Center. Working from the center's state-of-the-art labs, CNRCS researchers combine interdisciplinary research with dynamic collaboration within the medical center and with industry partners, with the goal of finding new treatments for an array of significant diseases, including cancer, diabetes and metabolic syndrome. To learn more, visit http://cnrcs.uh.edu.

For more information about UH, visit the university's Newsroom at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.

To receive UH science news via e-mail, sign up for UH-SciNews at http://www.uh.edu/news-events/mailing-lists/sciencelistserv/index.php.

For additional news alerts about UH, follow us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/UHNewsEvents and Twitter at http://twitter.com/UH_News.

Lisa Merkl | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uh.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht 'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers
16.02.2018 | National University of Science and Technology MISIS

nachricht New process allows tailor-made malaria research
16.02.2018 | Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

Im Focus: Autonomous 3D scanner supports individual manufacturing processes

Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).

Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fingerprints of quantum entanglement

16.02.2018 | Information Technology

'Living bandages': NUST MISIS scientists develop biocompatible anti-burn nanofibers

16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Hubble sees Neptune's mysterious shrinking storm

16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>