Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Design Experimental Treatment for Iron-Overload Diseases

03.11.2011
Iron overload is a common condition affecting millions of people worldwide. Excess iron in the body is toxic, and deposits can cause damage to the liver, heart and other organs. Current treatments, researchers say, are not ideal and have significant side effects.

Iron in the body is regulated by a hormone called hepcidin, and a deficiency in this hormone can cause the iron overload seen in genetic disorders like hereditary hemochromatosis and Cooley's anemia.


Journal of Clinical Investigation
Structure of the human hormone hepcidin (top panel) and the portion used for the minihepcidin design (bottom panel).


In the hopes of finding a treatment for iron overload, UCLA researchers have developed a new type of therapy based on small molecules that mimic the effects of hepcidin in mice. Published online Nov. 1 in the peer-reviewed Journal of Clinical Investigation, their findings could lead to new drugs to help prevent the condition.

Hepcidin works by fitting into a receptor protein known as ferroportin, which causes a change in iron flow in the body. The UCLA team systematically worked with the hormone–receptor interface to learn how the two pieces fit together and which part of hepcidin is the most important for binding to ferroportin.

"Like with jigsaw puzzle pieces, we tried to find the best fit," said Dr. Elizabeta Nemeth, the study's senior author and an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Nemeth, co-director of the UCLA Center for Iron Disorders, noted that this is the first attempt to develop medications that mimic hepcidin. Because hepcidin contains 25 amino acids and numerous disulfide bonds, it would be expensive and difficult to reproduce the hormone as a medication.

The UCLA team zeroed in on the areas of hepcidin and ferroportin that provided the best fit to generate iron-regulating activity. Surprisingly, they found that the first third of the

hepcidin molecule had an effect similar to that of the whole molecule. They then re-engineered this portion of the molecule to make it even more effective and named the resulting new molecules "minihepcidins."

"We found that just a few amino acids were enough to provide an effective scaffold for the minihepcidin design," said Piotr Ruchala, a visiting assistant professor of medicine at the Geffen School of Medicine.

The team confirmed that the minihepcidins were effective in healthy mice and demonstrated that they could prevent iron overload in mouse models of hereditary hemochromatosis.

"Using this structure and function analysis, we were able to develop minihepcidins that were even more effective than the naturally occurring hormone," said study author Dr. Tomas Ganz, a professor of medicine and pathology and co-director of the Center for Iron Disorders at the Geffen School of Medicine.

Ganz added that the UCLA findings built on previous research by the team and collaborators around the world that originally helped identify the role of hepcidin and ferroportin in iron regulation.

The next step is to identify the optimal form of minihepcidin for human trials. According to UCLA researchers, if the molecules' safety and efficacy is confirmed, minihepcidins could be used alone or together with current treatments for iron-overload diseases.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Will Rogers Fund.

UCLA is currently negotiating a license to this technology with a biotechnology company that will take the minihepcidins through pre-clinical development and into clinical trials.

Other study authors included Gloria C. Preza of the UCLA Department of Pathology; Rogelio Pinon and Bo Qiao of the UCLA Department of Medicine; Emilio Ramos of the UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Michael Peralta of the Columbia University Department of Chemistry; Shantanu Sharma of the California Institute of Technology's Materials and Process Simulation Center; and Alan Waring of the UC Irvine School of Medicine's Department of Physiology and Biophysics.

For more news, visit the UCLA Newsroom and follow us on Twitter.

Rachel Champeau | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.mednet.ucla.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>