Scripps Research Institute Team Finds Unique Anti-Diabetes Compound Using Powerful New Drug-Discovery Method

Scientists from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have deployed a powerful new drug discovery technique to identify an anti-diabetes compound with a novel mechanism of action. The finding, which appeared online ahead of print in an open-access article in Nature Communications on December 1, 2015, may lead to a new type of diabetes treatment. Perhaps just as importantly, it demonstrates the potential of the new drug discovery technique, which enables researchers to quickly find drug candidates that activate cellular receptors in desired ways. The new article is titled “Autocrine Selection of a GLP-1R G-Protein-Biased Agonist with Potent Antidiabetic Effects.” “In principle, we can apply this technique to hundreds of other receptors like the one we targeted in this study to find disease treatments that are more potent and have fewer side-effects than existing therapies. It has been a very productive cross-campus collaboration, so we’re hoping to build on its success as we continue to collaborate on interrogating potential therapeutic targets,” said Patricia H. McDonald (photo), Ph.D., Assistant Scientific Director, Department of Molecular Therapeutics, and Assistant Professor, both at TSRI’s Jupiter, Florida campus, and a senior investigator of the study. Dr. McDonald’s laboratory collaborated on the study with the laboratory of Richard A. Lerner, Ph.D., the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Immunochemistry at TSRI’s La Jolla, California campus, and with other TSRI groups. Dr. Lerner has pioneered techniques for generating and screening large libraries of antibodies or proteins to find new therapies. Three years ago, Dr.
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