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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ 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

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
World’s Largest Coral Gene Database
‘Genetic toolkit’ will help shed light on which species survive climate change.
Early Genetic Changes in Premalignant Colorectal Tissue Identified
Findings point to drivers of early cancer development, targets for cancer prevention therapies.
Scientists Find Evidence That Cancer Can Arise Changes
Researchers at Rockefeller University have found a mutation that affects the proteins that package DNA without changing the DNA itself can cause a rare form of cancer.
Modified Microalgae Converts Sunlight into Valuable Medicine
A special type of microalgae can soon produce valuable chemicals such as cancer treatment drugs and much more just by harnessing energy from the sun.
Breakthrough Approach to Breast Cancer Treatment
Scripps scientists have designed a drug candidate that decreases growth of breast cancer cells.
Loss Of Y Chromosome Increases Risk Of Alzheimer’s
Men with blood cells that do not carry the Y chromosome are at greater risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This is in addition to an increased risk of death from other causes, including many cancers. These new findings by researchers at Uppsala University could lead to a simple test to identify those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
A Guide to CRISPR Gene Activation
A comparison of synthetic gene-activating Cas9 proteins can help guide research and development of therapeutic approaches.
Gene That Lowers Heart Attack Risk Identified
Individuals with a rare twelve-letter deletion from a gene on chromosome 17 have significantly reduced non-HDL cholesterol levels and a 35% lower than average risk of heart disease.
Testing Non-Breast/Ovarian Cancer Genes
Researchers have found that expanding gene panel beyond breast/ovarian cancer genes in these patients does not add any clinical benefit. Instead, testing has produced more questions than answers.
Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells Play Role in Tumor Growth
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine have reported a new mechanism that helps cancer cells engage myeloid-derived suppressor cells.
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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!