TCM, brain function and drug space
Review Article, Ronald J. Quinn et al
Traditional Chinese medicine has played a significant role in the mainstream healthcare system in China for thousands of years.
This review article summarises 84 major compounds from 15 selected herbal medicines targeting neurodegenerative diseases. It presents a perspective based on the analysis of physicochemical properties of these TCM compounds, and comparison with current drugs and candidates for the treatment of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
The results demonstrate that traditional Chinese medicines contain compounds possessing physicochemical properties that have excellent overlap with developed western medicines.
GRIDD researchers impress on world stage
Young researchers from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery continue to win plaudits for their work seeking new therapies in the fight against cancer and infectious and neurological diseases.
Dr Amy Jones is currently in Scotland after being awarded funding from the Australian Society for Parasitology to visit the laboratory of Dr Manu de Rycker at the University of Dundee’s esteemed College of Life Sciences.
Dr Jones is a member of Professor Vicky Avery’s research team focusing on identifying new chemical scaffolds for leishmaniasis – caused by parasites and transmitted to humans via the bites of infected female sandflies – and trypanosomiasis, a vector-borne parasitic disease better known as sleeping sickness.
While trypanosomiasis is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, leishmaniasis occurs in more than 90 countries with an estimated 350 million people at risk of the disease.
Yorkshire-born Dr Jones will observe the Leishmania assay at Dr de Rycker’s lab and sees the visit as an opportunity to learn new skills and techniques which can then be applied upon her return to GRIDD.
“I love parasites. They have so many different life cycle stages and multiple hosts, utilising each host to their own advantage,” says Dr Jones.
“Leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis may not get the attention of the really big diseases like malaria, but current treatments are very toxic and not always effective. That’s a concern.
“If we can find a compound that kills the parasites without harming the person, then through working with our global network of collaborators we could take it all the way to the clinic and hopefully control these diseases.”
Another member of Professor Avery’s team, PhD candidate Bilal Zulfiqar, has received funding to attend the Sao Paulo School of Advanced Science on Neglected Diseases Drug Discovery – with a focus on Kinetoplastids (SPSAS-ND3) – to be held at the Brazilian Center for Research in Energy and Materials in the city of Campinas from June 14-24.
Concentrating on multidisciplinary aspects of drug discovery for Chagas disease, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis, high profile scientists from throughout the world will engage young researchers during the event to be hosted by the Brazilian Biosciences National Laboratory.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to advance my knowledge among world-leading scientists,” says Bilal, who is originally from Islamabad and started at GRIDD in April 2014.
“There are only 80 candidates at the event, 40 from Brazil and 40 from elsewhere, so I consider myself privileged to be able to attend.”
GRIDD Institute researchers, Dr Amy Jones and PhD candidate Bilal Zulfiqar
Meanwhile, PhD student Claire Levrier was recently awarded first prize for her oral presentation at the prestigious Australian Society for Medical Research postgraduate student conference.
Held at the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Claire’s presentation was entitled: Mechanism of action studies in prostate cancer cells of a new compound isolated from an Australian endemic rainforest tree.
“The compound in question, called 6AA, comes from a tree that grows between Brisbane and Sydney and nowhere else in Australia or the world,” says Claire, a member of Associate Professor Rohan Davis’s research team.
“We’re targeting microtubules, which are tubular structures found in the cytoplasm of cells and which are useful for mitosis, or cell division.
“In cancer cells, 6AA blocks this process, thus inhibiting the growth and spread of those cells.”
Claire joined GRIDD in 2012 and the following year began a PhD in natural product chemistry and cancer biology. Her project is being undertaken between GRIDD and the Australian Prostate Cancer Research Centre at the Queensland University of Technology.
Originally from France, Claire has a Diploma in Plant Science and Horticulture and earned a Master in Natural Product Chemistry.
PhD candidate Claire Levrier
Article viewed nearly 3000 times in the first year of publication
'N1,N1-Dimethyl-N3-(3-(trifluoromethyl)phenethyl)propane-1,3-diamine, a new lead for the treatment of human African trypanosomiasis', authored by Dr Ngoc Pham, Dr Sophie Deydier, Dr Mehdi Labaied, Dr Séverine Monnerat, Affiliate Professor Kenneth Stuart and Professor Ronald J. Quinn.
This article has been downloaded or viewed 2898 since publication in March 2014.
The highlights include:
- Synthesis of the anti-trypanosomal natural product convolutamine I was presented.
- • Convolutamine I has high MW (475 Da) with 3 bromine atoms.
- • Forty-one analogues were synthesized for structure–activity-relationship study.
- • Two hits with lower log P and lower MW displayed a 2-fold increase in activity.
To read the full article follow the link below:
GRIDD members meet with the Director General of WIPO
In February 2015, Dr Jodi Richards and Dr Ngoc Pham from the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, attended a meeting in Melbourne with Francis Gurry, the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), to discuss WIPO Re:Search.
WIPO Re:Search was established in 2011 by WIPO, in collaboration with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH). This is an initiative which provides access to intellectual property, now-how and data for the purposes of research and development in the areas of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), tuberculosis and malaria.
The Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery is a member of WIPO Re:Search offering natural products and bioaffinity screening as well as bioaffinity mass spectrometry. GRIDD has enjoyed a number of collaborations through this initiative and looks forward to many more.
From left to right: Adam Wright (Assistant Director, International Policy and Cooperation at IP Australia); Joanne Boag (Intellectual Property and Commercialisation Manager at Murdoch Children's Research Institute); Terry Moore (Director, Domestic Policy at IP Australia); Francis Gurry (Director General at World Intellectual Property Organisation); Jodi Richards (Business and Engagement Manager at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery); Julian Clark (Head of Business Development at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research); Tricia Diggle (Intellectual Property and Contracts Associate at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research); James Dromey (Head of Commercialisation at Murdoch Children's Research Institute) Ngoc Pham (Nature Bank Manager at the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery); Greg Leong (Business Development Associate at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research); Carmela Monger (Intellectual Property and Contracts Manager at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research)
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