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Chemical and Genetic Engineering Strategies to Improve the Potency of Pharmaceutical Proteins and Enzymes

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Over the last decade there has been significant progress in understanding the molecular basis of disease processes. At the same time the technological advances in the area of genomics and the efforts in proteomics research have increased the possibility of discovering many proteins with defined therapeutic functions. A large number of these proteins have found clinical application. Despite the importance of proteins as therapeutic agents, they have a number of disadvantages in comparison to small-molecule drugs, including immunogenicity and antigenicity, poor efficacy and oral bioavailability as well as, in many cases, short serum half-lives. To date, the most promising approaches for improving protein therapeutics rely on the use of genetic engineering and site-specific chemical synthesis/ modification techniques. Improving the potency of protein drugs by employing modern recombinant DNA technologies and novel chemical synthesis techniques is of primary importance, not only because of the enormous medicinal benefit but also because of the significant economic edge an improved drug can provide in today's competitive market.

Keywords: Expressed protein ligation; PEG; PEGylation; chemoselective ligation; directed evolution; native ligation; protein and enzyme engineering; rational protein design; semisynthetic proteins

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Laboratory of Enzyme Technology, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 11855-Athens, Greece.

Publication date: August 1, 2008

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  • Current Medicinal Chemistry covers all the latest and outstanding developments in medicinal chemistry and rational drug design. Each issue contains a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of the current topics in medicinal chemistry. Current Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.

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