The Neuropeptides Division primarily conducts multi-disciplinary studies on the relaxin family of peptides/hormones and their receptors. The division focuses on determining the role of these peptides and the receptors they target a wide range of physiological and disease states. These studies are coupled with fundamental drug discovery research on both these and other peptides and their G protein-coupled receptors. The aim of this research is to develop new biological knowledge and fundamental understanding about how to best therapeutically target these peptide systems with the long term view to develop drugs which target the peptide receptors to treat vascular, fibrotic, metabolic and psychiatric diseases.
An example of the success of this approach is the completion of a Phase III trial using the hormone relaxin for the treatment of acute heart failure by the Swiss Pharmaceutical Company Novartis. A Phase IIIb trial is ongoing and the relaxin drug, serelaxin, has been approved in Russia to treat patients with acute heart failure. Hence fundamental research on the mechanism of action of a hormone, in the case of relaxin pioneered at the Florey by the former Neuropeptides Division Head, Prof Geoffrey Tregear, can ultimately lead to its use to treat disease in patients.
A glimpse at our projects
- Developing peptidomimetics of insulin-like peptide 5, a novel orexigenic gut hormone, to target its GPCR, RXFP4.
- Developing novel chemical methods to produce insulin mimetics.
- Developing small peptidomimetics to target RXFP1 for the treatment of acute heart failure.
- Novel single-chain peptide mimetics, B7-33, for the treatment of fibrosis.
- Novel relaxin-3 mimetics for controlling feeding and motivated behaviour.
- Novel insulin-like peptide 5 mimetics for controlling colon motility.
- Novel insulin mimetics for managing diabetes.