In research that could ultimately lead to many new medicines, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed a potentially general approach to design drugs from genome sequence. As a proof of principle, they identified a highly potent compound that causes cancer cells to attack themselves and die.
“This is the first time therapeutic small molecules have been rationally designed from only an RNA sequence—something many doubted could be done,” said Matthew Disney, PhD, an associate professor at TSRI who led the study. “In this case, we have shown that that approach allows for specific and unprecedented targeting of an RNA that causes cancer.”
More information: Sequence-based design of bioactive small molecules that target precursor microRNAs, Nature Chemical Biology, DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.1452