Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genomics
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Scientists Discover way to fix Drugs with DNA

Published: Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Last Updated: Thursday, February 09, 2006
Bookmark and Share
This is thought to be a crucial step forward for researchers who are developing drugs to combat cancer and other diseases.

Scientists led by Mike Hannon at the University of Birmingham and Miquel Coll at the Spanish Research Council in Barcelona have discovered a way that drugs can attach themselves to DNA, which is a crucial step forward for researchers who are developing drugs to combat cancer and other diseases.

The research is highlighted (8th February 2006) in the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie.

DNA contains the information which encodes life itself; its double-helical structure was recognised 50 years ago. Scientists soon started designing drugs to target DNA and used them to treat diseases such as cancer, viral infections and sleeping sickness.  

In the 1960s, scientists discovered three different classes of clinical drug, each of which recognised DNA in a different way. Subsequent drugs have used only these three ways to recognise the DNA. 

Now the Birmingham and Barcelona teams have found a fourth which is completely different and opens up new possibilities for drug design.

The scientists have developed a synthetic drug agent that targets and binds to the centre of a 3-way junction in the DNA. 

These 3-way junction structures are formed where three double-helical regions join together. They are particularly exciting as they have been found to be present in diseases, such as some Huntington's disease and myotonic dystrophy, in viruses and whenever DNA replicates itself, for example, during cancer growth.

First of all, the Birmingham team created a nanosize synthetic drug in the shape of a twisted cylinder. Together with researchers in the UK, Spain and Norway they showed that is had unprecedented effects on DNA.

Now molecular level pictures taken by the Barcelona team have shown that it binds itself in a new way to the DNA, by fixing itself to the centre of a DNA junction, which had three strands. 

It is all held together because the cylinder is positively charged and the DNA is negatively charged. In addition the drug is a perfect fit in the heart of the junction: a round peg in a round hole.

When a disease is present, genes are either working too hard or not enough, so to combat this, scientists are looking for ways to target those genes to turn them off or on or to make them work slower or faster. 

A number of current anti-cancer drugs target disease at DNA level, but they are not specific in their approach and this means that they can cause unpleasant side effects. 

Moreover some of these drugs suffer from developed resistance as the body learns how to deal with drugs that act in a particular way. 

By creating drugs which act in completely different ways this acquired resistance could be overcome.

Professor Mike Hannon, from the University of Birmingham's School of Chemistry, says, "This is a significant step in drug design for DNA recognition and it is an absolutely crucial step forward for medical science researchers worldwide who are working on new drug targets for cancer and other diseases."

"This discovery will revolutionise the way that we think about how to design molecules to interact with DNA. It will send chemical drug research off on a new tangent."

"By targeting specific structures in the DNA scientists may finally start to achieve control over the way our genetic information is processed and apply that to fight disease."

Professor Miquel Coll's team from the Spanish Research Council in Barcelona was able to obtain the molecular level picture of how the drug interacts with the DNA using a technique called X-ray crystallography at the European Synchrotron facility at Grenoble in France. 

Professor Miquel Coll says, "In 1999 we solved the structure of the four-way DNA junction -also called Holliday junction- which is how two DNA helices can 'recombine' (swop genetic information) and which is important in producing genetic diversity in humans and other organisms."

"But that junction was rather compact, without cavities or holes that could be used for drug binding."

"Now we have discovered that three-way DNA junctions are much more suitable for drug design: they leave a central cavity where a drug can fit perfectly and this opens a door for the design of new and quite unprecedented anti-DNA agents."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Blood Cancer Could be Prevented Before it Develops
New research suggests myeloma could be prevented before it develops out of symptomless condition in bone marrow.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Mobile Laboratories Help Track Zika Spread Across Brazil
Researchers from the University of Birmingham are working with health partners in Brazil to combat the spread of Zika virus by deploying a pair of mobile DNA sequencing laboratories on a medical ‘road trip’ through the worst-hit areas of the country.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
Evidence of How Incurable Cancer Develops
Researchers in the West Midlands have made a breakthrough in explaining how an incurable type of blood cancer develops from an often symptomless prior blood disorder.
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
BGI, University of Birmingham Create UK Environmental Omics Centre
The Centre will seek to protect environment, health and global biodiversity by analysing the toxicity of compounds more efficiently than has been achieved before.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
University of Birmingham Invests £2 Million in Environmental Genomics Program
The research initiative aims to build genomics and bioinformatics expertise for the emerging field of environmental genomics.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Scientific News
Gene Therapy for Metabolic Liver Diseases
Researchers have tested gene therapy in pigs from hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, with corrected liver cells being transplanted into the diseased liver.
Gene Terapy for Muscle Wasting Developed
New gene therapy could save millions of people suffering from muscle wasting disease.
Gene-Editing 'Toolbox' Targets Multiple Genes Simultaneously
Researchers have designed a system that modifies, or edits, multiple genes in a genome at once while minimising unintentional effects.
Discovering the First Farmers
Genetic analyses reveal a collection of highly distinct groups in the Near East and Europe at the dawn of agriculture.
Fighting Cancer Through Protein Pathways
Researchers have found a new drug target within a protein production pathway critical to regulating growth and proliferation of cells.
Mutations in DNA-Repair Genes Found in Advanced Prostate Cancers
New findings indicate that nearly 12% of male advanced prostate cancer sufferers have inherited mutation in DNA-repair genes.
Ice Bucket Challenge Instrumental in Gene Discovery
Donations from the ALS Ice Bucket Chellenge allowed for the largest-ever study of inherited ALS, which identified a new ALS gene.
Triple-Action Therapy Patch Shows Promise
Patch that delivers drug, gene, and light-based therapy to tumor sites shows promising results in mice.
Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine
The study aims to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be paired with a precision therapy.
Targeting BRAF Mutations in Thyroid Cancer
Treating metastatic thyroid cancer patients harboring a BRAF mutation with vemurafenib showed anti-tumor activity in a third of patients.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!