technology-news

Potential drug target for cystic fibrosis identified

Washington, Sept 15 : Researchers have discovered a gene called DGKi as a new target for drug development for cystic fibrosis.


The study by scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Regensburg University, both in Germany, and the University of Lisboa, in Portugal, also uncovered a large set of genes not previously linked to the disease, demonstrating how a new screening technique can help identify new drug targets.

In patients with cystic fibrosis, the mutations to CFTR render it unable to carry out its normal tasks. Among other things, this means CFTR loses the ability to control a protein called the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC).

Starting with a list of around 7000 genes, the scientists systematically silenced each one, using a combination of genetics and automated microscopy, and analysed how this affected ENaC.

They found over 700 genes which, when inhibited, brought down ENaC activity, including a number of genes no-one knew were involved in the process. Among their findings was a gene called DGKi. When they tested chemicals that inhibit DGKi in lung cells from cystic fibrosis patients, the scientists discovered that it appears to be a very promising drug target.

"Inhibiting DGKi seems to reverse the effects of cystic fibrosis, but not block ENaC completely. Indeed, inhibiting DGKi reduces ENaC activity enough for cells to go back to normal, but not so much that they cause other problems, like pulmonary oedema," Margarida Amaral from the University of Lisboa said.

These promising results have already raised the interest of the pharmaceutical industry and led the researchers to patent DGKi as a drug target, as they are keen to explore the issue further, searching for molecules that strongly inhibit DGKi without causing side-effects.

The study is published in journal Cell.

--ANI (Posted on 15-09-2013)

technology-news headlines

Google Glass to assist surgeons soon

Soon, floating n-plants that survive tsunami, quakes

Ancient meteors reveal Red Planet's early atmosphere

Global warming to hit your bubbly's taste!

How gut microbes helped our ancestors adapt and survive during Paleolithic era

Three more 'blood moons' to appear in next 18 months

T. rex's neck was powerful enough to hunt and attack

Planets having odd tilts could be habitable

Mars' thin atmosphere may have led to its cold, dry conditions

How geographical features directly shape languages

How electrical energy naturally produced at sea floor may have given rise to life

Google Glass rolls white models for US citizens

Quick Links: Goa | Munnar | Pondicherry | Free Yearly Horoscope '2014

Comments

Your e-mail:


Your Full Name:


Type verification image:
verification image, type it in the box

Message:

Back to Top