My commitment: Discovering powerful new drugs to treat cancer and neurodegenerative diseases
There is a crisis now in the pharmaceutical industry. For the past 10 to 15 years, the number of new drugs has been declining because it’s becoming harder and harder to create new medicines using the traditional methods.
Drugs function by interacting with specific proteins within the body, called drug targets. However, only two percent of the proteins found in humans have been targeted with drugs, with most of the remaining proteins considered “undruggable.” These latter proteins, however, control nearly every disease process, from many types of cancer to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Lou Gehrig’s.
So, we revisited these other proteins and made inroads in developing smart, targeted drugs by designing molecules that interact with the atomic features of proteins and that are beneficial to patients with specific genetic features. Indeed, we have shed new light on this mystery of protein druggability, opening up a vast number of possibilities for new medicines, and ultimately moving us towards the next generation of precision medicine.