Here is a great article from an online newsletter I just started receiving from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. I included a link to the newsletter at the bottom of the article. Check it out!
Small Business Grant Will Enable Researchers to Pursue Celiac Disease Treatments
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) has awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) grant, titled “Drug Engineering of Transglutaminase 2 Inhibitors,” to fund a collaboration between Chaitan Khosla, Ph.D., a Stanford University biochemical engineer, and Numerate, Inc., a California-based biotechnology company.
Transglutaminase 2 (TG2) is an enzyme that plays a key role in the biological process that causes gluten to trigger an immune response that damages the lining of the small intestine in people with celiac disease. The collaboration is an extension of Khosla’s research, which focuses on TG2 and celiac disease. Using techniques that allowed him see to the physical structure of TG2, Khosla found that the flexible molecule undergoes a substantial rearrangement in the early stages of the gluten-induced immune response.
“Very few proteins have been observed to undergo this type of large-scale transformation,” Khosla said. “Our results create a foundation for dissecting the process by which the autoantibody response to TG2 is induced in celiac disease patients.”
Khosla’s work makes it possible to see the TG2 structure on the scale of individual atoms. Numerate will use that structural information to develop candidate “inhibitors”—molecules that bind to specific TG2 sites and block the chain of biological events that leads to immune system damage to the intestine.
The NIDDK STTR program allows a small business to partner with a research institution on projects that will lead to a commercial product. More information about the program and other funding opportunities is available at www2.niddk.nih.gov/Funding.
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