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Scientists working on new liver disease drug

Local researchers are teaming up with expatriate scientists to develop a new drug for chronic liver disease, scientists said today at the Queenstown Molecular Biology Meetings in Shanghai.

Clinical trials will begin next year, they said.

Previous therapeutic agents treating fibrosis can cause side effects like depression.

The new drug candidate acts without causing serious side effects to the brain, said Raymond Stevens, founding director of iHuman Institute under ShanghaiTech University.

Cell signaling, or communication between human cells, is the key to how the body functions. Signaling begins at the cell surface, where a family of protein receptors called G-protein coupled receptors, or GPCR, is involved in 80 percent of cell surface activities in the human body. The receptors control functions such as growth, reproduction, the nervous system and behavior.

About 40 percent of modern medicines target these receptors.

Shanghai is becoming a center of pharmaceutical innovation through international collaboration. Many overseas companies and institutes are cooperating with local facilities to develop new drugs, said Wang Mingwei, director of the Chinese National Compound Library in Shanghai.


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