August 13, 2022

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Science, Molecules for the Drugs of the Future: Help comes from sound waves

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The sound waves help produce molecules that are useful for new drugs. This is what was published by the experiment in the journal Nature Communications and was conducted between Italy and Switzerland Polytechnic University of Lausanne and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Padua. The new technology allows for the rapid and sustainable production and identification of thousands of macrocyclic compounds, a family of pharmacologically important molecules of great importance in the treatment of serious diseases, such as tumors. The researchers were able to fabricate large groups of compounds in extremely small sizes, such as droplets, by rapidly mixing reagents using sound waves. Thanks to miniaturization and high speed, it was possible to create a group of tens of thousands of different vehicles in just half a day. Thus, macrocyclic compounds obtained mimicry of some molecules found in nature, such as the immunosuppressive cyclosporine, the antibiotic vancomycin, and the antineoplastic dactinomycin, and they have many qualities that are of particular interest to the pharmaceutical industry. For example, they have a low molecular weight: a property that allows them to pass through the cell membrane and reach targets within the cell. Moreover, its compact and rigid structure favors a high binding affinity with the target protein, which allows the use of a smaller amount of the molecule to obtain the desired effect. ”Our contribution – says Alessandro Angelini di Ca’ Foscari- was fundamental to the understanding of the binding modality of these novel cyclic compounds to a protein target and contributed to the validation of the screening approach for large functional large libraries with highly diverse collections”. Laura Cendron From the University of Padova, “An analysis of the 3D structure under X-rays of an inhibitor bound to the target protein model revealed that both components, the chemical groups that were introduced, but also the skeleton of the macrocycle itself, contribute to the primary modality of binding.” also Christian Hennis, from the Polytechnic University of Lausanne that due to their small size, “Macrocyclic compounds designed using this innovative approach have a high potential to cross cell membranes, meaning that they can be used to develop drugs for intracellular targets or even oral drugs.”

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