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Targeting Conserved Pathways as a Strategy for Novel Drug Development: Disabling the Cellular Stress Response

  • Adrienne L. Edkins
  • Gregory L. Blatch
Chapter

Abstract

The ability to respond to and cope with stress at a molecular level is essential for cell survival. The stress response is conserved across organisms by the expression of a group of molecular chaperones known as heat shock proteins (HSP). HSP are ubiquitous and highly conserved proteins that regulate cellular protein homeostasis and trafficking under physiological and stressful conditions, including diseases such as cancer and malaria. HSP are good drug targets for the treatment of human diseases, as the significant functional and structural data available suggest that they are essential for cell survival and that, despite conservation across species, there are biophysical and biochemical differences between HSP in normal and disease states that allow HSP to be selectively targeted. In this chapter, we review the international status of this area of research and highlight progress by us and other African researchers towards the characterisation and targeting of HSP from humans and parasites from Plasmodium and Trypanosoma as drug targets.

Keywords

Heat Shock Protein Cancer Stem Cell Molecular Chaperone HSP90 Inhibitor Heat Shock Transcription Factor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Biotechnology Research Unit (BioBRU), Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and BiotechnologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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