Researchers from the University of Buffalo have now discovered a new technique to staple peptides to preserve their shape better. A peptide is simple a molecule that contains in it more than one amino acid. Peptides are smaller than proteins. If they are small enough to be synthesized, usually less than 50 molecules, they are by definition a peptide. Peptides naturally have a tendency to shift, and the new technique from the University of Buffalo may help prevent this transformation from happening.
Doctor Qing Lin is the lead researcher in the experiment. "There's a lot of potential here. Our chemistry is unique," he said. Doctor Lin continued the interview by saying that the new technique to staple peptides, or even possibly proteins as well, could open up a new avenue of drug therapies for patients. He attributes the breakdown of helices in peptides to one of the reasons there have not been many new drugs approved by the Federal Drug Administration in the last decade. The peptide stapling has the potential to have a positive benefit because the strong bond can disrupt protein to protein interactions involved in many biological areas, including the build up of stress and the death of cells.
Naturally, peptides are transforming between various arrangements. They generally shift between helices, sheet coil, and random coil. The technique by Doctor Lin staples the peptides together to prevent them from shifting forms. Peptides in a helix form enter cells easier than in other forms. The technique has the potential of also working of large chains of amino acids, proteins, which could add various new health benefits.
Many experts believe that the peptide stapling has great potential in helping to treat various health problems. The peptide stapling could be used to treat infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, and even some cancers. Many businesses have looked into investing in the potential peptide stapling may have. "The field is large enough for multiple players," Lin said. "Stapling is a technology that many people believe will create a new class of drug therapies, hitting new targets that other therapies can't. Our chemistry is distinct from what's already out there." Although much more research is needed on the effects of peptide stapling and the specific benefits it could have in treating diseases, it is safe to believe that peptide stapling will become an important technique in treating diseases in the not too distant future.