Protein-Protein Interactions (PPI) are important as they are involved in all cellular processes, both healthy and disease related. In layman’s terms, the interaction in PPIs can be considered as a hand gripping a ball, where one protein grips the other. PPI’s are important in maintaining the healthy status of the living cells and the human body, but on occasions these can be disrupted or malfunction, leading to the development and progression of diseases, such as cancer or a neurodegeneration (e.g. Alzheimer’s).
One potential route for the treatment of diseases associated with malfunctioning PPIs is to develop drug-like small molecules to inhibit the interactions between the two proteins. Until recently, PPIs were considered too challenging to inhibit using small-molecules, but recently their potential use has been demonstrated by the Nutlin series (Roche) and Navitoclax (Abbott). The issue lies with identifying which PPIs could be targeted by the small molecule inhibitor, and be used for drug discovery. This programme seeks to address these challenges.
The programme aims to create the tools to make this kind of drug discovery easier by analysing and categorising the important features of protein-protein interactions. This will provide the basis for discovering many new drugs for the treatment of disease.