Reaction Biology Corp., Malvern, Penn., has been awarded a Phase I SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences to create a database of epigenetic drug interactions. The grant will help fund an examination of the interaction of over 1,400 FDA-approved drugs and drug-like compounds with over 30 epigenetic modifying enzymes. The project will begin immediately at RBC's lab facilities, and will last for one year.
Epigenetic enzymes control the mechanics of genetic expression, acting as "on" and "off" switches for the human genome. Malfunctions of these enzymes are implicated in a number of cancer, immunological, and neurodegenerative conditions. Understanding these mechanisms can explain why one person with a genetic disposition to a certain type of cancer may become sick while another with the same genetic marker may stay healthy.
The project will consist of taking a library of 1,400 compounds, including almost every FDA-approved drug, and assaying it against over thirty epigenetic enzymes, a total of over 42,000 individual experiments. The resulting data will generate a road map researchers can use in creating new drug compounds to combat conditions with known epigenetic mediators. In addition, the data may shed new light on the mechanisms of side effects of known drugs, and possibly give direction for "repurposing" existing drugs for new treatments.
RBC is a contract research organization specializing in providing biochemical enzyme assay data.
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