The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institute of Health (NIH) has announced that it will provide CU Boulder with a $4.4M Biotechnology Research Partnership grant to study aggregation of therapeutic protein molecules. The Research Partnership is headed by ChBE Prof. Ted Randolph and includes ChBE Prof. Dan Schwartz, Prof. John Carpenter of the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at CU Denver, and additional collaborators at the University of Delaware and North Carolina State University.
Therapeutic proteins are the leading class of new drug molecules on the market today, providing remarkable new treatments for diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, proteins naturally degrade to form side products such as aggregates, which are “clumps” of protein molecules. These degraded products not only lose their potency as drugs, but may cause serious side effects if they are administered to patients. The Research Partnership team is using a wide variety of experimental, theoretical and computational techniques to study the mechanisms that are responsible for degradation of therapeutic proteins. Understanding the ways in which proteins degrade will allow the team to devise new ways to stabilize these valuable molecules against damage in order to protect patients from undesirable side effects.