Issue Date: April 4, 2011
Collaborative Study Yields TB Drug Leads
Cheminformatics firm Collaborative Drug Discovery (CDD) has used a genomic and computational approach to identify promising leads to drugs for treating tuberculosis. Doctors need new medications to fight tuberculosis because the Mycobacterium tuberculosis microbe that causes the disease is terribly good at becoming drug resistant. CDD has huge vaults of medicinal chemistry data. And Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine has a lot of data about the mycobacterium’s metabolic enzymes. By putting the two sets of information together, a research team was able to identify small molecules that can defeat the pathogen in vitro, announced CDD’s CEO, Barry A. Bunin. In the study, Johns Hopkins researchers first identified metabolic enzymes that humans don’t have and that M. tuberculosis can’t live without. Next, a scientist at CDD picked through the medicinal chemistry data looking for molecules that resemble the substrates of those enzymes. Then CDD researchers tested some of the substrate analogs on cultured tuberculosis cells. Two of the compounds from CDD’s initial screen, JFD01307SC and L-methionine-S-sulfoximine, worked well in the lab (mBio, DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00301-10). CDD scientists are now testing the compounds on a variety of tuberculosis strains in hopes they will lead to new tuberculosis medications.
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