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Work on receptor unlocks new targets for drug development

February 2nd, 2012
by Tania

Diabetes patient measure glucose level blood testDrug developers may have a potential new target for the treatment of diabetes and hypertension after chemists unlocked a receptor found in blood platelets.

P2X1 had previously been seen as unimportant for platelets however, researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) have now found a way to isolate and test the receptor, and say this is not the case.

Dana Spence of MSU's Department of Chemistry said: "The receptor is very active; you just need to be careful in working with it."

Work on P2X1 has previously not been possible as it is desensitised once it leaves the body. The team found that by adding a simple molecule called NF449 they were able to activate the receptor out of the human body.

The findings offer a new target for the development of treatments for diseases that impact red blood cells, including diabetes, hypertension and cystic fibrosis.

Existing medications can also be retested to establish if they will work when attached to the receptor.

A new target for the development of drugs for protein-related diseases, including type 2 diabetes, was also recently uncovered by researchers at Northwestern University. A related study into small molecules was also conducted.

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