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Better than the natural hormone

By 20 de January de 2012November 18th, 2020No Comments
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Better than the natural hormone

Headed by Antoni Riera (University of Barcelona) and Maria Macias (ICREA Research Professor), a team of researchers at IRB Barcelona, in collaboration with the company BCN Peptides, has designed a peptide that is ten times more stable in blood than the natural hormone and is more active than the two analogues currently available on the market. The success of the design lies in the substitution of two sequences in the natural sequence for two non-natural amino acids. Angewandte Chemie, the second highest ranking journal in chemistry, has published the article in the advanced online edition and has selected it for the inside cover in the first issue of February.

For several decades the pharmaceutical industry has been interested in achieving peptide analogues —similar molecules with improved properties— of the natural hormone somatostatin. This hormone and another two analogue compounds, octreotide and lanreotide, are used for the treatment of several kinds of neoplasia, such cancer of the thyroid, pancreas and prostate, in diseases associated with the growth hormone, for example in gigantism, and in digestive hemorrhages.

The use of the natural hormone has two disadvantages: it degrades rapidly in the organism (2-3 minutes) and it has a wide spectrum of activities. Thus when attempting to correct certain diseases without affecting the normal function activated by the natural hormone, it is important to develop compounds that show greater stability in blood and that are more selective in their action. What we have obtained in the lab is a peptide that fulfills these two objectives”, explains Antoni Riera, head of the Asymmetric Synthesis Laboratory at IRB Barcelona, where the new compound has been synthesized.

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