At the recent “Fall 2010 National Meeting & Exposition” of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Boston, scientists reported on a new family of potential drugs that are capable of blocking a key protein that’s involved in the development of cancer. Called stapled peptides, the substances get their name from chemical braces that hold the peptides in a compact shape, which gives them high stability in comparison to their unfolded versions.
The 3-D shape is critical for the peptide to function normally and help orchestrate biological processes. The chemical stapling allows them to resist destruction by enzymes, easily penetrate cells, and bind to biochemical machinery within cells.
Further demonstrating the promise of stapled peptides and during the same week as the ACS conference, Roche signed a collaboration agreement worth up to $1.1 billion with Aileron Therapeutics for the discovery, development, and commercialization of these novel therapeutics.
During this week’s podcast Dr. Gregory Verdine, one of the world’s experts on stapled peptides, discusses their discovery, the range of areas for medical applications, and future research strategies.