Heparan sulfate (HS) is a highly sulfated glycosaminoglycan with a variety of critical functions in cell signalling and regulation. HS oligosaccharides can mimic or interfere with HS functions in biological systems, but highly complex synthesis has limited exploitation in medical applications.
VUW researchers have solved this problem by developing new synthesis pathways leading to a growing family of compounds. These compounds present unique opportunities for a wide range of new drugs, from wound repair to Alzheimer’s disease treatment.
The dendritic core structure of these patented compounds and the synthesis provide a template for creating other HS saccharides with polyvalent presentation optimised for other indications.
Synthetic molecules are simplified by the replacement of complex sugar chain fragments with flexible carbon spacers. The novel 'Starburst' 4 directional dendritic core design reaches the size of multi-generational dendrimers.
The framework exploits polyvalency to achieve strong yet reversible 'velcro' type interactions for biomolecular recognition.
A Senior Scientist at the Ferrier Research Institute, Dr Olga Zubkova has 25 years’ experience as a carbohydrate and medicinal chemist. Olga joined Industrial Research Ltd (now the Ferrier Research Institute) in 1994 and has been involved in numerous research and commercial projects. She leads discovery research and development activities of the Novel Heparan Sulfate Glycomimetics project. Her exp...