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One of our top areas of research focuses on the design and development of new pharmaceuticals and the identification of new therapeutic targets. Our commitment to drug discovery is evidenced both by studies published internationally in recent years and by patents that CERM personnel have co-authored.

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The strategy is based on the determination of a pathology of interest and genomic analysis to identify potential therapeutic targets. In silico target analysis contributes to structural modeling (based on the templates of homologous proteins), continuing on to molecular docking. The next step includes on the one side cloning, expression and purification of the selected targets and on the other side the synthesis of molecules selected through in silico rational drug design to obtain real-time experimental data on interaction efficiencies as well as to optimize the projection of second generation molecules. So far, CERM researchers have concentrated mainly on isolated targets such as matrix metalloproteins (MMPs), S100, phosphatases, telomerases, superoxide dismutases, RAGE receptor and HGF.

Pathologically relevant protein-protein interactions investigated at CERM.

Now we aim to explore the world of extracellular protein-protein interactions. The knowledge of protein–protein interaction networks (in particular MMPs with ECM components, S100s with RAGE receptor and HGF with MET receptor) will increase our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying specific physiopathological processes and this information will be exploited to identify new molecular targets and to design new candidate drugs.