March 2013

The Scripps Research Institute

At the Forefront

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Professor Argyrios TheofilopoulosProfessor Argyrios Theofilopoulos

A New Target for Lupus Treatment

A team at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has made a discovery that may lead to better treatments for lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects tens of millions of people all over the world.

Although therapies for lupus exist, they do not directly target its underlying causes. In this study, TSRI researchers determined that the absence of a certain type of immune cell – or a key signaling molecule within the cell – could protect against lupus. In a mouse model of the disease, subjects without the cell or signaling molecule showed little impairment of their normal immune functions.

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DividerMilestones in Medical Science:

Phil LograssoProfessor Philip LoGrasso

New Compound Protects Heart During and After Attack

A team from Scripps Florida has discovered a new compound that may protect heart cells from the serious damage caused by heart attacks. Heart attacks severely restrict blood supply, causing heart cells and surrounding tissue to be starved of oxygen in a process called ischemic cascade.

The Scripps Florida study, led by Professor Philip LoGrasso, showed that inhibiting a specific enzyme in rats prevented tissue death during such an event.

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Other News:

Professor Paul SchimmelA team from the Schimmel lab has determined a molecular structure that helps explain the effect of a Chinese herbal medicine called Chang Shan.

Discovering How a Chinese Herbal Medicine Works

The mysterious inner workings of Chang Shan – a Chinese herbal medicine used for thousands of years to treat fevers associated with malaria – have been uncovered thanks to a high-resolution structure solved at TSRI.

Prior to the study, scientists knew that halofuginone, a two-headed compound derived from Chang Shan, could suppress parts of the immune system but they didn't know how. In order to understand this mechanism, they created a molecular structure of the compound.

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Facts & Figures

Lupus is a chronic inflammatory connective tissue disorder that can involve joints, kidneys, mucous membranes, and blood vessel walls. Nine of ten people diagnosed with lupus are women between the ages of 15 and 45.

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Six Prestigious Organizations Join Forces to Translate Research into New Medicines

The Scripps Research Institute has joined five other organizations in a new alliance aimed to accelerate the translation of basic research into much-needed new therapies.

The group, known as the Global Alliance of Drug Discovery and Development Centres (GADDDC), brings together organizations in Canada, Germany, the United States, Belgium, and the UK.

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