ATHENS, Ohio--Studies at Ohio University of growth hormone and its role in diabetes, acromegaly, cancer and other health problems have resulted in the discovery of protein antagonists that have been used to develop a new class of drugs for the treatment of these and other diseases.
Ohio University recently received the third U.S. patent in a series on the technology, growth hormone antagonists, which is the basis for the development of the drug termed pegvisomant. This summer, scientists in Texas announced the positive results of Phase III clinical trials of pegvisomant for the treatment of acromegaly, a disease that affects about 40,000 people worldwide. Sensus Drug Development Corp., the company that developed pegvisomant, plans to file for Federal Drug Administration approval for the drug's use in acromegaly early next year.
"Not many university professors are able to see something discovered in their laboratory be used successfully in the treatment of a human disorder. We are very proud of our discovery of this new class of drugs," said John Kopchick, Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of molecular and cellular biology at Ohio University. "We've discovered something that can be used to treat human illness and save lives."
Kopchick and former Ohio University scientist Wen Chen discovered growth hormone antagonists just 10 years ago in labs in the university's Edison Biotechnology Institute, where Kopchick is a senior scientist. Human and animal growth hormones contain a chain of 191 amino acids. Kopchick's research team discovered that by replacing the amino acid glycine -- number 119 in the chain in animals and 120 in humans -- with almost any other amino acid, the growth hormone turns from a growth hormone agonist, or enhancer, to a growth hormone antagonist, or inhibitor.
The antagonist inhibits the action of the hormone at the cellular level by competing for receptors usually claimed by growth hormone, thus inhibiting the biological
Contact: Kelli Whitlock