Novel approach to treating common diseases

15 February 2017

Clinician discussion

Researchers at Cardiff University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have discovered a new clinical approach that could provide a new avenue for treating a range of common diseases including cancer, strokes and high blood pressure.

The novel approach consists of indirectly targeting enzymes within cells, called kinases, which cause these often debilitating medical conditions when they malfunction. By inhibiting protein kinases, their function is significantly reduced which can stop or delay the onset of cancer, hypertension and many other diseases.

Indirect kinase inhibition diagram

'The discovery of new drugs'

There are already up to 30 drugs available that target protein kinases directly to treat various diseases but this new research investigates how many more drugs could be developed that indirectly inhibit these kinases to slow down the onset of these medical conditions, and potentially lead to fewer side effects for patients.

It’s known that protein kinases become activated and lead to the onset of these diseases when they bind to another protein. Researchers in this study found a compound that could bind to the protein (MO25), preventing it from binding with the kinase which, in turn, prevented the kinases from being activated. It’s therefore believed that this indirect approach to inhibiting the kinases can ultimately delay the progression of numerous diseases.

Cardiff University’s Dr Youcef Mehellou, who led the research, said: "Longer term, this research opens a new avenue for the discovery of new drugs for diseases such as cancer, hypertension, strokes, neurodegenerative diseases, viral infections and cardiovascular diseases..."

Youcef Mehellou

"The medicines designed through our approach would most likely deliver more specific drugs and hence these would have less side effects than the classic kinase inhibitors that are currently used."

Dr Youcef Mehellou, Lecturer

Now that the molecular concept has been proven, work will continue in the lab to find a more effective compound to bind to molecule MO25 and have better drug-like properties to treat high blood pressure and other diseases.

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