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GPCR screening and drug discovery: Challenges and latest trends

26 April 2012 | By Sofia M.A. Martins, João R.C. Trabuco, Gabriel A. Monteiro and Duarte Miguel Prazeres, Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon

G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are one of the most popular drug targets today. Almost one third of the approved drugs currently available rely on some kind of interaction with these receptors. The annual revenues are around USD 30 billion (109) and the fact that one quarter of the top US…

Targeted therapy in metastatic melanoma

28 February 2012 | By Janina Staub and Jochen Utikal, Department of Dermatology, Venereology and Allergology, University Medical Center Mannheim, University of Heidelberg & Skin Cancer Unit, German Cancer Research Center

During the last few years, significant improvements in the treatment of metastatic melanoma were reported, targeting molecules involved in the pathogenesis of melanoma. Different clinical trials were able to prove a prolonged overall survival by introducing new therapeutic agents. Hereby an imunomodulating therapy with the anti-CTLA-4 antibody ipilimumab has been…

MRI in drug discovery

28 February 2012 | By Peter R. Allegrini, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

MRI is widely used for clinical diagnosis as well as in research areas such as preclinical drug discovery, clinical development and also in therapy monitoring. MRI allows non-invasive acquisition of tomographic images of soft tissue with high resolution and contrast. Furthermore, its ability to assess organ function in a broad…

Discovery and validation of biomarkers for multiple sclerosis

13 December 2011 | By Ole Pless and Sheraz Gul, European ScreeningPort GmbH

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease leading to a chronic inflammation and degeneration of the central nervous system. It is one of the major neurological diseases with approximately 2.5 million suffering patients worldwide. Until now, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated, but the cause of the disease…

Status and challenges in structure-based drug discovery for G protein-coupled receptors

13 December 2011 | By Henri Xhaard, Head of Computational Drug Discovery Group, Centre for Drug Research, University of Helsinki

The central location of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) at the interface between the interior and exterior of cells, as well as their key role in signalling events, make GPCRs a prominent class of pharmaceutical targets. To date, approximately 40 per cent of known drugs are thought to act on GPCRs…

microRNA manipulation as a host-targeted antiviral therapeutic strategy

13 December 2011 | By Nouf N. Laqtom, University of Edinburgh & King Abdulaziz University and Amy H. Buck, University of Edinburgh

microRNAs (miRNA) are a class of non-coding RNA that regulate the precise amounts of proteins expressed in a cell at a given time. These molecules were discovered in worms in 1993 and only known to exist in humans in the last decade. Despite the youth of the miRNA field, miRNA…

Expression profiling of circulating miRNAs as a novel non-invasive diagnostic tool

13 December 2011 | By Mirco Castoldi. Department of Pediatric Hematology, Oncology and Immunology University of Heidelberg

Cell-free nucleic acids circulating in human blood were first described in 19481. However, it was not until the work of Sorengon and colleagues was published in 19942 that the importance of circulating nucleic acid (cfNA) was recognised. Today, the detection of diverse type of cfNA3 in blood and other body…

Unconventional RNA interference – recent approaches to robust RNAi

19 October 2011 | By Marie Lundbæk, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Pål Sætrom, Department of Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine & Department of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

RNA interference (RNAi) is now a standard tool in molecular biology. Short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) for knocking down your favourite human gene are only a couple of mouse-clicks away at your favourite reagent supplier’s website. Moreover, in contrast to initial attempts at siRNA design, these siRNAs usually give potent target…

HOX genes: HOX transcription factors as biomarkers in cancer

19 October 2011 | By Richard Morgan, Postgraduate Medical School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey

The HOX genes are a family of closely related transcription factors that help to define the identity of cells and tissues during embryonic development and which are also frequently deregulated in cancer, where they have been shown to promote cell survival and proliferation. The high level of cancer-associated HOX expression…

Lead discovery for targeting G protein-coupled receptors

19 October 2011 | By Sandra Siehler and Sandra W. Cowan-Jacob, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) control a plethora of key physiological functions in every cell of an organism. GPCRs are therefore involved in many diseases, since altered ligand or receptor levels and genetic or epigenetic modifications can lead to GPCR dysfunction and hence a pathophysiological phenotype. About one third of currently…

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