Innovative Treatments for Age-related Diseases
Why do instances of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and Type 2 diabetes increase with age? Usually, these age-related diseases are studied independently, but Dr. Basil Hubbard, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Therapeutics, is taking a different approach.
By studying changes in biological molecules related to age, Hubbard aims to target the common hallmarks underlying all of these diseases. This approach could lead to the development of new drugs to treat multiple age-related diseases at the same time.
Proteins are functional biomolecules that carry out various important activities in human cells. Small chemical modifications such as acetyl can be added or removed from proteins to tune their function when necessary. But as cells age, this process often becomes less regulated.
Hubbard and his research team are investigating how and why this occurs to better understand how abnormal protein modification contributes to disease. For example, the accumulation of acetyl has been linked to diseases like breast cancer, heart disease and age-related hearing loss. Using molecular biology and biochemistry, Hubbard’s team is identifying the regulators that deposit and remove these modifications—and looking for ways to control them.
By understanding how to regulate protein modifications, Hubbard hopes to produce new drugs and diagnostics for age-related diseases. His findings could also help reduce the cost of developing these drugs by identifying single compounds that can help prevent and treat multiple diseases at once.