Designer drugs

Seth Cohen of the University of California at San Francisco and his team have used a new type of computer model to design inhibitors for enzymes involved in diseases as diverse as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. They say the new inhibitors should lack the problems that have plagued previous generations of inhibitors for these enzymes, such as toxicity, lack of oral availability, and rapid metabolism. Cohen's team tested eleven diverse compounds against a matrix metalloprotease enzyme and then used the results to fit the compounds to a new computer model of the enzyme's metal-containing active site. Cohen says the research is the first to use such an approach to modeling so aggressively and could lead to highly specific inhibitors for any one of the 26 MMP enzymes in the human body.