News & Events

A good night’s sleep may be in sight

April 24, 2019

A third of all Americans have difficulty with sleeping, and many of them turn to melatonin supplements to catch some Zs. However, scientists don’t fully understand melatonin’s role in the biological clock, which has made it difficult to develop drugs for sleep disorders without several side effects. Now, an international team of scientists has shed much-needed light on melatonin’s effects, opening the door to the development of new drugs for sleep disorders — and other health...

Better drug to save mothers’ lives during childbirth may be on the way

January 10, 2019

Postpartum bleeding is the world’s leading cause of death for women during and after childbirth, and the third-leading cause in the United States alone. Many doctors in developing countries have turned to the drug misoprostol to save more women from deadly hemorrhaging. Misoprostol, although affordable, has dangerous side effects, including uterine cramping, heart attack, toxicity in the brain and spinal cord, fetal death and fetal heart abnormalities. Development of a...

Research opens the door to improved drugs for Type II diabetes

May 17, 2017

Type 2 diabetes, a prolific killer, is on a steep ascent. According to the World Health Organization, the incidence of the condition has grown dramatically from 108 million cases in 1980 to well over 400 million today. The complex disease occurs when the body’s delicate regulation of glucose, a critical metabolite, is disrupted, creating a condition of elevated blood sugar known hyperglycemia. Over time, the condition can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. In a new...

X-Ray Study Reveals Long-Sought Insights Into Potential Drug Target

April 5, 2017

Researchers hope to design a new generation of drugs against an array of deadly diseases. The task, however, is costly, arduous and often ineffective. One of the key challenges is understanding a particular class of proteins adorning cell surfaces, which are the targets of the majority of pharmaceutical drugs. Now Wei Liu and his colleagues at ASU’s Biodesign Institute, along with a team led by Haitao Zhang and Vadim Cherezov of USC have examined one promising drug target in luminous...

Scientists blueprint tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’ whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature

December 17, 2015

Tempe, AZ, Thursday December 17th, 2015 – Scientists have drawn up molecular blueprints of a tiny cellular ‘nanomachine’, whose evolution is an extraordinary feat of nature, by using one of the brightest X-ray sources on Earth. The scientists produced the structural map of this nanomachine – diacylglycerol kinase – by using a “hit and run” crystallography technique. In doing so, they have been able to understand how the tiny enzyme performs critical cellular duties –...

ASU, Mayo Clinic collaborate to advance medicine through joint research

December 1, 2015

2016 seed-grant recipients announced Arizona State University, in partnership with Mayo Clinic in Arizona, has announced the recipients of the 2016 ASU-Mayo Seed Grant Program. The program funds critical joint research projects in the health field led by scientists from both ASU and Mayo Clinic. The awardees this year are making innovative strides in the treatment of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart failure and infectious diseases, as well as advancing nanobody technology and...

Scientists determine structure of important drug target using groundbreaking approach

July 23, 2015

Tempe, Arizona – Using the brightest X-ray laser in the world, scientists have determined the structure of a molecular complex that is responsible for our sense of sight. Researchers at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute Center for Applied Structural Discovery (CASD) collaborated with an international team of researchers from 19 institutions working to develop a roadmap for more selectively targeting pathways for drug treatment. The innovative approach may lead to more...

Key blood pressure drug seen in startling new detail

April 23, 2015

A new Arizona State University research study has revealed the fine details of how an experimental drug works to regulate blood pressure, paving the way to the development of better drugs. The ASU team’s interdisciplinary work, led by Petra Fromme, of the Biodesign Institute, may one day help scientists better control blood pressure irregularities with a new class of drugs that could limit harmful side effects. The new research focuses on a type of drug known as an angiotensin II...

X-ray crystallography brings pain pathways into view

February 16, 2015

Powerful opiate drugs are a mainstay in modern medicine, alleviating pain in both acute and chronic forms. These charms however bear a curse. Users quickly develop tolerance to their effects, requiring ever-increasing doses of the drug. Further, such opioid compounds lead to drug dependence, owing to their notoriously addictive qualities. In a first of its kind study, Petra Fromme, Ph.D., a researcher at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute joins an international team using...