eNewsletter | May 8th, 2017.

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The Drug Development Process

By Jeya Chelliah B.Vsc Ph.D

It takes, on average, 12 years to develop and market a new therapeutic drug starting from basic research.

Target identification and validation

What is a drug target? A drug target is an endogenous cellular or molecular structure, involved in disease pathogenesis, through which a drug can exert its action. Target-based drug discovery requires a thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis and the roles of enzymes, receptors and other proteins in this process. Upon identifying a potentially interesting drug target, its role in disease pathogenesis and progression has to be defined, a process known as target validation. During the validation process, the functionality of the potential target is not only evaluated at a molecular and cellular level, but also at the level of an entire organism. Upon validation of a potential target, drug discovery will focus on identifying compounds capable of blocking the target's activation or activity.

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RNA as an endocrine signal

By Jeya Chelliah B.Vsc Ph.D

Multi-cellular organisms have developed a network of circulating body fluids to deliver nutrients, remove waste products, and communicate between cells. It has been demonstrated that, in addition to other known biomolecules, such a nutrients and hormones, RNAs can be transported in blood and other body fluids. The concept that RNA molecules are secreted from cells, transported in body fluids, and act as endocrine signals to alter the phenotype or functionality of target cells, both locally and at distant sites, has recently emerged. Current research is focused on exploring the origins, functions, and applications of these extracellular circulating RNA molecules (exRNA). Questions that remain to be answered include: what are the mechanisms of export and cellular uptake, what is the nature and source of their stability, what molecules do they interact with in blood, and what are the possible biological functions?.

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Cell-free biotech will make for better products

A new type of biological engineering should speed up innovation

THE stuff of life comes wrapped in tiny bags called cells. Inside are DNA molecules that carry the instructions for how to run the cell, to make it grow, and to cause it, ultimately, to divide into two cells, if that is to be its fate. Messages made of a slightly different molecule, RNA, carry these instructions to molecular machines called ribosomes. A ribosome’s job is to read the RNA messages and translate them into proteins, the workhorse molecules of cells. Those proteins then supervise and execute the running, the growing and the dividing..

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Apply for the Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates

Marion Sewer, an accomplished pharmacology professor, was deeply committed to service within the scientific community. The Marion B. Sewer Distinguished Scholarship for Undergraduates offers tuition funding to students who demonstrate an interest in the fields of biochemistry and molecular biology and who enhance the diversity of science. .

Scholarship benefits:
  • • $2,000 toward tuition for one academic year
  • .
  • • Eligibility to apply for an additional scholarship in subsequent years.
Application deadline: May 15, 2017.

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