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Protein drugs appear to improve significantly when using a new method of attaching a large protective polymer molecule to a protein, according to research.
The new approach was developed by bioengineers at Duke University, who demonstrated in an animal model that the newly created protein-polymer combinations – known as conjugates – stayed in circulation significantly longer than an unprotected protein.
The scientists hope the findings could point to a new strategy for improving the efficacy of protein drugs.
Ashutosh Chilkoti, Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, believes that protein-based drugs are an increasingly important new class of drugs.
He cited examples such as insulin for the treatment of diabetes, as well as more exotic “magic bullet” antibodies like herceptin which are used to treat some cancers.
Prof Chilkoti said: “We also addressed the problem of getting a pure and well-defined product by growing the polymer from a single, unique site on the protein.”
Copyright Press Association 2009