New series of human drug targets available to all researchers

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The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), an Anglo-Canadian charitable consortium of public and private agencies including Oxford University, announced recently that it has delivered its first 50 human and malaria protein structures into the public domain on budget and two months ahead of schedule.

The new data that this provides to research will expedite the development of medicines and provide tools for researchers to study important diseases.

The human proteins whose structures were placed into the public domain include drug development targets across a range of diseases such as cancer, inflammation, osteoporosis and diabetes. The SGC protein structures represent a spectrum of human drug targets that includes protein kinases, protein phosphatases, proteases and enzymes involved in steroid metabolism.

Professor Aled Edwards, the SGC’s Chief Executive, said: ‘The progress we have made over the past 10 months is a testament to the commitment and skill of our scientists. I am looking forward to the next year, in which we are aiming to make public the structures of an additional 100 proteins that are both of high scientific impact and directly linked to human disease.’

The SGC has a three-year mandate to place 350 three-dimensional structures of proteins of relevance to human health into the public domain without restriction on use. The consortium’s goal is to encourage the development of new and improved drugs and other healthcare products. It is the only public-private partnership worldwide to undertake such a targeted programme of research. The SGC operates from laboratories at the Universities of Oxford and Toronto and the European Bioinformatics Institute, and is supported by investment from Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute, GlaxoSmithKline, the Ontario Government and the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Michael Sundstrom, Chief Scientist for the SGC operations at Oxford University, said: ‘We were delighted to have met our goal for the first year ahead of schedule. Among our key achievements during the first operational year are the structure determination and release to the public domain of several key intervention points for the treatment of human disease. This include 11-beta HSD1, which is a novel intervention point for the treatment of diabetes as well as several protein kinases implicated in cancer. Thus, we are convinced that the data produced by the consortium will stimulate biomedical research, especially in the field of drug discovery’

For more information see the global SGC website or the Oxford SGC website.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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