Deanna Csomo McCool | October 9, 2019
Thousands of new chemical structures are tested in hopes of discovering a single drug meant to treat a single disease. Of the 5,000 to 10,000 that are prepared, only about 250 of those make it to the pre-clinical stage, and potentially as few as five make it to clinical trials in humans.
The gap between discovery and clinical research is dubbed the Valley of Death — the place where promising compounds languish because of lack of funding in academic labs and start-up companies. But one compound developed at the University of Notre Dame recently received funding from the Department of Defense for this pre-clinical phase, allowing the drug to move beyond discovery and toward clinical trials in humans.
The compound, called (R)-ND-336, is a topical gel for treatment of diabetic foot ulcers. It was developed by Mayland Chang, research professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Shahriar Mobashery, the Navari Family Professor in Life Sciences in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Both are affiliated with Advanced Diagnostics & Therapeutics and the Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development.
About 25 percent of all patients with diabetes will develop foot ulcers. Elevated blood glucose causes numbness in the extremities, and the patients cannot feel the ulcers forming. They are notoriously difficult to heal.
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