Structure based drug design
For decades researchers have attempted to gain a better understanding of the processes between and on the outside of cells. An important step into the understanding of these processes was the discovery of the 3D structure of the acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP), which functions as a gateway for substances from outside a cell to the inside or vice versa. Knowledge of this structure has opened a world of possibilities for its use as a target for drug discovery.

This project aims to develop substances that can influence the AChBP. So far researchers have been able to influence nicotine receptors in the brain which is important for the cognitive functioning of the brain. They now also aim for receptors that play an important role in the communication in the brain, and e.g. are involved in dementia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as in the signalling in addiction processes. The next step is the development of pharmaceuticals that can modulate specific receptors. This will at least lead to a decrease in side effects of certain drugs, but maybe in the future it may eventually even lead to drugs that cure addictions.

Fast facts
Full project title: New approaches for Ligand-Gated Ion Channel (LGIC) drug discovery
Start date: October 2007
End date: October 2011
Goal: Develop new ways to use Ligand Gated Ion Channels as a tool in drug discovery
Principal investigator:Guus Smit
Project size: 6 FTE's
Partners: Netherlands Cancer Institute, MSD, Abbott, VU University Amsterdam

PhD theses from this project

Ewald Edink (project D2-103)
Structure-Based Design of AChBP Ligands

“What TI Pharma can deliver from collaborations is more efficient healthcare, faster time to market and quicker patient benefit.”

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