A couple of interesting talks from Sessions 9 and 10:
Mark Pepys talked about treating amyloidosis by targeting serum amyloid P component (SAP), which is present in all amyloid deposits and plays a role in stabilizing them. Several years ago, Pepys discovered a compound (CPHPC) that quickly removes SAP from the bloodstream and from most amyloid plaques; however, clinical trials showed that CPHPC alone does not help people with advanced disease. Today, Pepys reported on some very promising results from combining CPHPC with an antibody, effectively targeting the antibody to amyloid: in mouse studies, plaques completely disappear. Clinical testing of this combination approach will begin in 2011.
Kendall Houk gave a very interesting talk on computationally designing enzymes from scratch. They plan to apply their recently published protocol to develop enzymes that can reverse the formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) – sugar-modified proteins that accumulate with age and are implicated in several age-related diseases.
(For an index of coverage of all sessions, see here.)