Scientific achievements during 3rd year of the project
- A set of chemicals was selected in order to expand the chemical space of potential GDNF mimetic candidates. These molecules were purchased and tested at the University of Helsinki.
- We constructed several different computational models, which could reasonably well predict the activity and solubility of a family of GDNF mimetics.
- Applying the models mentioned above, we designed new GDNF mimetics; the synthesis of 15 new potentially active compounds was ordered.
- Significant effort was dedicated from both University of Helsinki and Molcode to prepare a manuscript based on the project results for publishing in the prestigious Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
- We analyzed the ability of a set of a few derivatives to support cultured DA neurons. We found three compounds for which the biological activity has been increased by more than 100 times in comparison to initial hit.
Team members overseas
During the third year of the project the secondments of the researchers were continued: Dr. Yulia Sidorova and MSc. Ilida Suleymanova finished their secondments, and more early stage researchers, MSc. Arun Kumar Mahato and MSc. Mikael Jumppanen, from University of Helsinki (Faculty of Pharmacy) to join Molcode team in Estonia for a few months. At the beginning of the year, the Molcodes team was reinforced by the arrival of Dr. Lauri Sikk, a post-doc from France, to head the medicinal chemistry optimization of GDNF mimetic candidates and train the secondees from the University of Helsinki. Meanwhile, Hans Priks from Molcode learned new techniques as a secondee to the University of Helsinki.
Spreading the word
During the third year of the project, Lauri Sikk from Molcode team held a public lecture about modern drug design in the framework of pan European Researchers’ Night. Topics such as history, methods and motivation of drug design were discussed. The team has also attended several partnering business meetings and research conferences in different countries.
Future plans (4th year)
During the final year of the project we are focusing on the following topics
- Investigate the activity of the designed and synthesized GDNF mimetic candidates, starting with in vitro
- Further refine our computational models based on the feedback from the experiments with the (in silico) designed candidates for improving the understanding of structure – activity relationships.
- Focus on publishing the results of the research carried out during the last years.
- Explore the possibilities for continuing the research beyond the duration of the present project.