‘GAGS’ program proves healthy

RESEARCHERS at Curtin University have commenced a project to develop a new generation of drugs for treatment of HIV-AIDS, asthma and melanoma.

The Glycosaminoglycans – or ‘GAGS’ research project aims to develop a new approach to the treatment of many common diseases.

WA-based company Meditech Research acquired the project in May. The project will be performed in new custom-built laboratories at Royal Perth Hospital under the supervision of Deirdre Coombe and Colin Sanderson.

Dr Coombe has experience working with HIV-AIDS in the UK and with cancer and melanoma in Australia.

While working with asthma and allergic diseases in the UK, Professor Sanderson discovered the growth factor, or hormone, that plays a key part in the development of allergic diseases such as asthma.

Professor Sanderson said the GAGS program would focus on critical aspects of cancer, melanoma and HIV-AIDS to identify carbohydrate products that could be used to treat them.

“In recent years, the field of molecular glyco-biology has expanded rapidly with the realisation that certain carbohydrate structures have very precise functions in the body,” he said.

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