Neat 'trick' guards peptides against early degradation

Making peptides into better drugs has been one of the Holy Grails in research circles. Now researchers at the University of the Pacific say that they developed a "biochemical trick" that should significantly extend the life span of a peptide, opening up new therapeutic potential.

Peptides can make good drugs, but developers also have to contend with the fact that they're hard to sustain and have a short existence in the bloodstream. They're often unusable as a result or require big doses to be effective.

The researchers say they were able to overcome the bloodstream barrier by combining peptides with a compound that in turn allowed it to hitch a ride on a more hardy protein.

"This allows the peptides to avoid degradation and survive in the body much longer," said Mamoun Alhamadsheh, assistant professor of pharmacy at Pacific.

"In addition to its promise in treating disease, the new technique also has potential to enhance imaging and diagnostic agents," noted co-first author Mark Miller.

Their work appears in the November issue of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery.

- here's the release
- read the research abstract

Read more on