Abundant “Secret Doors” on Human Proteins Could Be Game-Changer for Drug Discovery

A three-dimensional animation of the human protein PSD95-PDZ3 showing the binding partner CRIPT (yellow) in the active site with the blue-to-red color gradient indicating increasing potential for allosteric effects. Based on PDB accession 1BE9.

By CENTER FOR GENOMIC REGULATION

Identification of hidden vulnerabilities on surface of ‘undruggable’ proteins could transform treatment of disease.

The number of potential therapeutic targets on the surfaces of human proteins is much greater than previously thought, according to the findings of a new study in the journal Nature.

A ground-breaking new technique developed by researchers at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona has revealed the existence of a multitude of previously secret doors that control protein function and which could, in theory, be targeted to dramatically change the course of conditions as varied as dementia, cancer and infectious diseases.

The method, in which tens of thousands of experiments are performed at the same time, has been used to chart the first ever map of these elusive targets, also known as allosteric sites, in two of the most common human proteins, revealing they are abundant and identifiable.Official HCP Treatment Website – Partial-Onset Seizure InfoA Therapy Option May Reduce Your Patient’s Seizures. Learn Treatment Info Now.Prescription Treatment Website

The approach could be a game-changer for drug discovery, leading to safer, smarter and more effective medicines. It enables research labs around the world to find and exploit vulnerabilities in any protein – including those previously thought ‘undruggable’.

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Liverpool Hospital trials smart gloves to train surgeons

Liverpool Hospital is trialling smart gloves that are said to provide surgical trainees with instant and accurate feedback.

The surgical gloves, invented by engineers at Western Sydney University, have been built around low-cost sensors which can record hand movements in fine detail, giving trainee surgeons and their mentors actionable data to evaluate and improve on intricate surgical procedures.

The research team are working closely with surgeons and students at Liverpool Hospital to develop the technology, which will augment rather than replace traditional surgical training.

Dr Gough Lui, who led the work, believes the device could objectively measure the intricate hand manoeuvres of surgeons, allowing for clear and actionable feedback for trainees.

“Training surgeons in a more objective and evidence-based manner ensures evidence-based competency. Teachers will be able to give precise feedback on minute details post-surgery, and students can analyse their performance,” Dr Lui said.

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A ‘game-changer’ weight-loss drug was approved in 2021. Demand was so high that there were shortages within months.


By Gabby Landsverk

  • Semaglutide, a weight-loss drug, showed promise for treating obesity in recent research.
  • Demand quickly exceeded supply after the FDA in June approved once-weekly semaglutide injections.
  • However, some experts worry that we don’t yet understand the drug’s long-term effects.

2021 was a historic year for obesity treatment. In June, the Food and Drug Administration approved the weight-loss drug semaglutide, which some experts described as a “game-changer.”

The medication, initially developed to treat Type 2 diabetes, was the first drug treatment to be approved by the FDA for weight management since 2014. Wegovy, the brand of semaglutide sold by Novo Nordisk, is a once-weekly injection designed to balance out hunger hormones. It’s prescribed for people with a body mass index of 30 or more, or a BMI of 27 with related conditions such as diabetes.

Semaglutide was widely praised, prompting such high demand that there were shortages within months of Wegovy’s entrance into the market.

While questions remain about its long-term effects, the drug made a splash in healthcare this year, changing how experts and the public think about weight loss.

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World’s first smart bandage detects multiple biomarkers for onsite chronic wound monitoring

By  National University of Singapore

A research team led by Professor Lim Chwee Teck from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Biomedical Engineering and Institute for Health Innovation & Technology (iHealthtech), in collaboration with clinical partners from Singapore General Hospital, has developed a smart wearable sensor that can conduct real-time, point-of-care assessment of chronic wounds wirelessly via an app. A world’s first, the novel sensor technology can detect temperature, pH, bacteria type and inflammatory factors specific to chronic wounds within 15 minutes, hence enabling fast and accurate wound assessment.

With a rapidly aging population, healthcare providers are seeing more patients suffering from non-healing wounds such as diabetic foot and chronic venous leg ulcers. It has been estimated that about two percent of the world’s population suffer from chronic wounds. The healing processes for these chronic wounds are often interrupted due to reasons such as infection and repeated trauma, leading to severe stress, pain and discomfort to afflicted patients. For patients with diabetic foot ulcers, this can lead to more severe outcomes such as foot amputation. Timely care and proper treatment of chronic wounds are needed to speed up wound recovery. However, this requires multiple clinical visits for lengthy wound assessment and treatment, which adds to the healthcare cost. The NUS team’s innovation can help mitigate these consequences and relieve patients with chronic wounds from unnecessary distress.

The research was first published in the journal Science Advances on 21 May 2021.

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Life in 2050: A Glimpse at Medicine in the Future

By 2050, the ways in which we watch our health, seek medical advice, get treatment, and what we’re treated for will change dramatically.

By  Matthew S. Williams

Welcome back to the “Life in 2050” series. In previous installments, we looked at how technological advancements, climate change, and changes in the geopolitical landscape will alter the nature of warfare, economics, living at home, education, transportation, and space exploration (in two installments) in the coming decades.

Today, we will look at how these same changes and advancements will revolutionize medicine by the middle of this century. As with all the other aspects of life we’ve explored, this revolution is already well underway, but will accelerate dramatically as we get closer to 2050. This will present new opportunities for healthier living, but also new hazards.

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Third Rock-backed startup launches to develop cell therapies for MS, diabetes

“T Regulatory Cells” [Microscope image].

By Ned Pagliarulo

Five cancer cell therapies are approved in the U.S. Scores more are in clinical testing as drugmakers work to repurpose human cells as a platform for new medicines, many of which are similarly targeted at different types of cancer.

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‘Better treatments’: Government to fund psychedelic drugs trials to treat mental illness

Fungi containing psilocybin – otherwise known as magic mushrooms – will be part of government-funded trials into mental health treatments.

By Rob Harris

Clinical trials using magic mushrooms, ecstasy and other psychedelic drugs in potential breakthrough therapies for debilitating mental illnesses will be funded by the federal government as part of global efforts to advance innovative treatments.

There is growing international evidence showing substances such as ketamine, psilocybin and MDMA can successfully treat resistant mental illnesses, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, when used in a controlled environment and supported by psychiatric care.

Many standard treatments for illnesses, including addiction and eating disorders, can have varied efficacy and recovery rates and there have been few advances in novel pharmaceutical discoveries in recent years.

The Morrison government will on Wednesday launch a $15 million competitive grant round to kick-start Australian clinical trials of potential breakthrough combination therapies.

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SCIENTISTS SUSPECT THIS DRUG CAN ACTUALLY DELAY AGING

By TONY TRAN

It’s the stuff of legend: a way to stop — or at least slow down — aging. 

Unlike Ponce de León searching for immortality in the swamps of Florida, though, a growing number of scientists now believe a treatment for Type 2 diabetes might be the key to slowing down the aging process, according to The Washington Post. 

More specifically, the scientists believe that the treatment — called metformin — can help prevent or slow down three age-related ailments: dementia, heart disease, and cancer. If metformin can effectively combat these diseases, it can also potentially extend our lifespan.

Note the language: it might extend our lifespan. Not make us immortal. 

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Designing Artificial Microswimmers for Targeted Drug Delivery

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Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. Mathematical models of this cell motion are guiding the design of artificial microswimmers for targeted drug delivery.

Many types of motile cells, such as the bacteria in our guts and spermatozoa in the female reproductive tracts, need to propel themselves through confined spaces filled with viscous liquid. In recent years, the motion of these ‘microswimmers’ has been mimicked in the design of self-propelled micro- and nano-scale machines for applications including targeted drug delivery. Optimising the design of these machines requires a detailed, mathematical understanding of microswimmers in these environments. A large, international group of physicists led by Abdallah Daddi-Moussa-Ider of Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany has now generated mathematical models of microswimmers in clean and surfactant-covered viscous drops, showing that the surfactant significantly alters the swimmers’ behaviour. They have published their work in EPJ E.

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Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

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Interactive virtual reality emerges as a new tool for drug design against COVID-19

Bristol scientists have demonstrated a new virtual reality [VR] technique which should help in developing drugs against the SARS-CoV-2 virus—and enable researchers to share models and collaborate in new ways. The innovative tool, created by University of Bristol researchers, and published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, will help scientists around the world identify anti-viral drug leads more rapidly.

A SARS-CoV-2 enzyme known as the main protease (Mpro) is a promising target in the search for new anti-viral treatments. Molecules that stop the main protease from working—called enzyme inhibitors—stop the virus reproducing, and so could be effective drugs. Researchers across the world are working to find such molecules. A key predictor of a drug’s effectiveness is how tightly it binds to its target; knowing how a drug fits into the protein helps researchers design changes to its structure to make it bind more tightly.

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Human aging process biologically reversed in world first

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The ageing process has been biologically reversed for the first time by giving humans oxygen therapy in a pressurised chamber.

 Scientists in Israel showed they could turn back the clock in two key areas of the body believed to be responsible for the frailty and ill-health that comes with growing older.

As people age, the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes – called telomeres – shorten, causing DNA to become damaged and cells to stop replicating. At the same time, “zombie” senescent cells build up in the body, preventing regeneration.

Increasing telemere length and getting rid of senescent cells is the focus of many anti-ageing studies, and drugs are being developed to target those areas.

Now scientists at Tel Aviv University have shown that giving pure oxygen to older people while in a hyperbaric chamber increased the length of their telomeres by 20 per cent, a feat that has never been achieved before.

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Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare

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2020 has ingrained in me an age-old adage my mom loves to quote – health is wealth. Focus on our healthcare and the strain on our healthcare system has increased exponentially this year. While the world altogether has jumped up to help improve our healthcare systems, what can truly help is improved preventive methods, devices that help the patients monitor their health from home as well as to stay in touch with their doctors virtually while providing accurate data. The best example of the data’s impact is how an Apple Watch helped saved a man’s life by detecting problems with his heartbeat – and this is just the beginning. The products here show the best of healthcare we can provide to make this world a better place!

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