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Centre of Excellence in New Target Discovery

Abstract

CENTD's focus is to combine the expertise of researchers at the Butantan Institute (biochemistry, OMICS, molecular and cellular biology, pharmacology, genetics, bioinformatics, immunology, and in vitro and in vivo assays) with GSK's experience in the search and validation of new targets related to immune-inflammatory diseases, to enable the design and development of new therapeutic agents. During the first 5 years, the CENTD team dedicated efforts to the implementation of 6 cell models that allowed the screening (screening) of 32 animal venoms, originating from different places in the world and 18 synthetic peptides, originated through computational analysis, from of proteins. Initially, the inflammatory potential of animal venoms and derived fractions was analyzed by screening in established cell models. Subsequently, the assays were optimized for the identification of anti-inflammatory activity and the samples were analyzed under these conditions. The analysis included high-content screening, multiplex, flow cytometry and mass spectrometry techniques. Transcriptomic, proteomic and bioinformatics analyzes were also performed, generating a very significant database. The screening proved to be effective, since of the 32 poisons analyzed, 3 were chosen for the next stages (target identification and validation). Likewise, of the 18 peptides studied, 5 were chosen for the follow-up of assays that seek to validate targets, using especially new technologies that will be implemented in the next stage. Also, the integration of data from different omic techniques, allowed, from tests with crude poison, the choice of 5 molecular targets for validation in the next step. In terms of disseminating science, several activities were developed by CENTD. Among them, exhibitions held in places of great circulation and visibility, such as subway stations and thermometers located at 300 addresses in São Paulo. According to the media, CENTD images have probably been viewed by more than 2 million people. In addition, entrepreneurial training was also offered by CENTD through the participation of the member group in the MBA - Health Innovation Management, in the organization of short courses and seminars, always focusing on innovation processes. During this period, 5 patents were applied at the INPI / PCT and 34 scientific articles were published. More than 50 masters and doctoral students, supervised by the main researchers (PIs), completed their theses and, more than 20 postdoctoral students, were supervised by the PIs. In addition, there is also the transfer of know-how between the main actors of the GSK project and the research groups coordinated by PIs (main researchers), composed of scientific progress meetings every two months, technical visits by GSK scientists to support the development of CENTD projects and annual visits by the advisory board. (AU)

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