VAI researchers make map to lead to more effective drugs

1:02 PM, Mar 28, 2013   |    comments
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The Van Andel Institute

Grand Rapids (WZZM) - A breakthrough on Grand Rapids Medical Mile could lead to new drugs to treat things like anxiety, depression, migraines and obesity.

Researchers at the Van Andel Institute created a molecular map of two serotonin receptors.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which regulates a lot of functions in the body. The receptors serve as targets for drugs that treat many different conditions.

Having the map makes the targets easier to hit.

"This is the first time people really know what is the basis or mechanism of the activity between each subtype of serotonin receptors," said Doctor Eric Xu, head of Van Andel Institute's Center for Structural Discovery. "That can provide a foundation for designing a better drug.

Current drugs can often bind to several serotonin receptors, which provides a challenge for drug developers who want to make a more efficient and effective product.

Drugs that target receptors more specifically have fewer side effects and can be more effective in treating a condition.

The studies done by VAI researchers were published in the journal Science.

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