Drug Target Discovery
An innovative approach towards identification of novel therapeutic drug targets to improve the management of heart failure
Heart failure (HF) is a major and escalating public health concern worldwide affecting over 37 million individuals globally. It is associated with unprecedented economic costs globally. Heart failure is a multi-factorial condition characterised by the heart’s inability to pump sufficient amount of blood to meet the requirements of the body. Although significant advances in the treatment of HF have clearly improved patient survival, its prevalence is still on the rise. Current HF medications, although beneficial in relieving symptoms, often do not tackle the underlying pathological mechanism or cause. There is therefore a pressing need to develop novel therapies that will address this issue and restore the cardiac function.
To ease drug development, we have developed an approach purely focusing on an in-depth characterisation of proteins as proteins are the key building blocks of life and regulate all biological functions. Proprietary high-resolution technologies are used to identify protein changes in HF using human heart biopsies and urine samples. The approach helps defining disease at the molecular level, in the affected tissue, and identifying disease-associated biomarkers in the periphery (in urine). Combined with extensive literature data and cutting-edge bioinformatics tools, the modelling of the disease is achieved leading to the definition of relevant and underlying molecular pathways and ultimately the selection of the best therapeutic targets. The functional relevance of the targets is then further investigated in animal models via intervention studies guiding the development of novel drugs directly addressing molecular causes of heart failure. The advantages of this multi-level approach are numerous mainly enabling a better patient stratification and facilitating drug target identification.
This approach is further exploited in other clinical areas such as oncology.