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Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News Reports on the Growing Role of Ion-Channel Studies in Global Biotech R&D

Thursday, June 5, 2008 General News J E 4
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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y., June 4 Ion-channel research is drawingincreasing attention from a wide variety of life science investigators allover the globe, reports Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (GEN). Suchinterest is not surprising as ion channels play key roles in numerousbiological processes such as neural signal transduction, cardiac, skeletal,and smooth muscle contraction, and epithelial transport of nutrients and ions,among others, according to an article in the June 1 issue of GEN(http://www.genengnews.com/articles/chitem.aspx?aid=2484).

"Research on ion channels has opened up possibilities for new ways totreat a host of diseases, including cancer, a malfunctioning immune system,and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders," notes John Sterling, Editor inChief of GEN.

On the basic research side, Merritt Maduke, PhD, assistant professor inthe department of molecular and cellular physiology at Stanford UniversitySchool of Medicine, has built a lab focused on elucidating the molecularmechanisms underlying the function of the CLC chloride channels, the largestmolecular family of mammalian anion channels. Dr. Maduke's interest in the CLCfamily is that half of the members are chloride channels, while the other halfare chloride-proton antiporters.

In the bioindustry, the real challenge in developing therapeutics based onion-channel research is the size of ion-channel families and their widespreaddistribution. The ongoing focus for the development of therapeutics withchannel specificity is to develop subtype selectivity to improve efficacy andreduce the impact of side effects.

At Devgen, the focus is on treatment for inflammatory and metabolicdiseases and arrhythmia. Petra Blom, PhD, section leader within the medicinalchemistry group, and Titus Kaletta, PhD, head of preclinical development, areworking on a project targeting the Kv4.3 ion channel. The goal of their workis to develop a first-in-class oral treatment for acute and chronic atrialfibrillation.

Also discussed in the GEN article is ion-channel work at OrganonLaboratories, ChanTest, Molecular Devices and Axon Instruments (both now partof MDS Analytical Technologies), Sophion Bioscience, Nanion Technologies, andFlyion.

For a copy of the June 1 issue of GEN, please call 914.740.2122, or email:ebicovny@liebertpub.com

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News (www.genengnews.com), which ispublished 21 times a year by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., is the most widely readbiotechnology news magazine worldwide. It includes articles on Drug Discovery,Bioprocessing, OMICS, Biobusiness, and Clinical Research and Diagnostics.Contact: John Sterling Editor in Chief Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News 914.740.2196 jsterling@genengnews.com

SOURCE Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
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