New enzyme discovery may help improve drugs against cancer, diabetes and obesity

A new study reveals that several drugs for treating haematological cancers are less effective than expected in inhibiting a special enzyme. Researchers have also identified new lead compounds that could potentially improve existing treatments and pave the way for new drugs against diabetes and obesity.

Almost all medical treatments are based on drugs that inhibit the activity of proteins in the body leaving them unable to contribute to the development of for example tumours, inflammatory diseases or metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity.

A number of drugs that target a group of proteins – the so-called HDAC enzymes – have attracted significant attention in recent years from researchers and drug developers, because they contribute to the development of resistance towards cancer treatments. New research has demonstrated that they also play a crucial role in a whole range of other diseases that are due to dysregulation of human genes.

An organic chemistry research team at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, has been investigating all the 11 HDAC enzymes expressed in human cells to develop specific molecules that can bind to the enzymes and block their activity in the body.

In a study just published


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