New Information on Inflammatory Protein Linked to IBD May Lead to Novel Therapies

New Information on Inflammatory Protein Linked to IBD May Lead to Novel Therapies
Scientists at Heptares Therapeutics have figured out the molecular structure of the CCR9 receptor, an immune cell inflammatory protein associated with several diseases, including IBD. Knowing the structure of this protein may lead to the development of novel therapies for these diseases. CCR9 is a chemokine receptor that belongs to a family of proteins called the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These proteins participate in immune defense by managing the migration, activation, and survival of immune cells and are considered valuable targets for therapies aimed at reducing inflammation. The CCR9 receptor, for example, plays a role in recruiting immune cells to the gut, a process that contributes to inflammatory bowl disease (IBD). Although the pharmaceutical industry has made significant efforts to develop novel drugs targeting chemokine receptors, only two compounds have reached the market: Selzentry (maraviroc) for HIV infection and Mozobil (plerixafor) for stem-cell transplant mobilization. This low achievement may be due to the lack of knowledge about the structure of chemokine receptors, which limits the ability to improve compounds that target their activity. The study leading to the identification of CCR9’s structure was published in the journal Nature,  titled "Intracellular Allosteric Antagonism Of The CCR9 Receptor." Researchers at Heptares used vercirnon, a selective blocker of the CCR9 receptor, to analyze the protein’s structure. The team found that vercirnon binds to the part of the protein located within the cell, preventing the recept
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