We are active in two main drug discovery directions:
Membrane lipid therapy
A number of observations have lent support to a model in which thermal stress is transduced into a signal at the level of the cellular membranes. Our alternative, but not exclusive, approach is based on the concept that the initial stress-sensing events are associated with the physical state and lipid composition of cellular membranes, i.e., the subtle alteration(s) of membrane fluidity, phase state, and/or microheterogeneity may operate as a cellular thermometer. In fact, various pathological states and aging are associated with typical “membrane defects” and simultaneous dysregulation of heat shock protein synthesis. The discovery of nonproteotoxic membrane-lipid interacting compounds, capable of modulating membrane microdomains engaged in primary stress sensing may be of paramount importance for the design of new drugs with the ability to induce or attenuate the level of particular heat shock proteins.
Antimicrobial peptides (also called host defense peptides) are an evolutionarily conserved component of the innate immune response and are found among all classes of life. Fundamental differences exist between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells that may represent targets for antimicrobial peptides. These peptides are potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics which demonstrate potential as novel therapeutic agents. Antimicrobial peptides have been demonstrated to kill Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria (including strains that are resistant to conventional antibiotics), mycobacteria (including Mycobacterium tuberculosis), enveloped viruses, fungi and even transformed or cancerous cells. Unlike the majority of conventional antibiotics it appears as though antimicrobial peptides may also have the ability to enhance immunity by functioning as immunomodulators.
For our work, we used neural networks, evolutive algorithms, and ab initio softwares.