Body clock discovery offers big new drug target

The complex genetic machinery that manages our internal body clock is controlled by a single amino acid, which could prove to be one of the biggest new drug targets of the year. Researchers at the University of California say that the body clock regulates sleep patterns as well as metabolism and behavior. And distortions in the system are linked to a range of ailments, from depression to insomnia, neurodegenerative disorders and cancer. Any change in the amino acid that manages the body clock can disrupt its regulatory influence, and the scientists are testing antibodies to see which can target its activity. One sleep expert in the UK noted that while there are 89 varieties of sleep disorder, we currently have a single therapeutic approach to treating the disease--targeting the GABA neurotransmitter.

"Because the triggering action is so specific, it appears to be a perfect target for compounds that could regulate this activity," lead researcher Professor Paolo Sassone-Corsi told the BBC.

- see this release
- here's the article from the BBC

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