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The Quest for the CureThe Science and Stories Behind the Next Generation of Medicines$
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Brent Stockwell

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231152136

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231152136.001.0001

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From Protein-Protein Interactions to Personalized Medicines

From Protein-Protein Interactions to Personalized Medicines

Chapter:
(p.156) 9 From Protein-Protein Interactions to Personalized Medicines
Source:
The Quest for the Cure
Author(s):

Brent R. Stockwell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231152136.003.0009

This chapter examines how personalized medicines can be developed by controlling protein-protein interactions. For many years, the possibility of targeting protein-protein interactions with drugs seemed fanciful at best, and most researchers viewed such a goal as being impossible. In 1957, however, James Bertram Collip isolated a new molecule named vinblastine from the Madagascar periwinkle plant. Shortly thereafter, Gordon Svoboda at Eli Lilly was able to isolate a similar natural product known as vincristine. Before long, the first cancer patients were treated with these new molecules, and their tumors responded favorably. Vincristine and vinblastine were developed into standard treatments for a variety of cancers, despite their side effects. This chapter looks at the research on protein-protein interactions carried out by James Wells and Tim Clackson during the mid-1990s, the discovery of ligase proteins, and whether it is possible to inhibit any of the 600-plus ligases encoded in the human genome. It also assesses the challenge of blocking protein-protein interactions using small molecules.

Keywords:   personalized medicine, protein-protein interactions, drugs, vinblastine, periwinkle, vincristine, cancer, ligases, small molecules, proteins

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