Catalyst: Research on body receptors could help produce new drug treatments

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Whether it’s calories, carbs, protein or vitamins, we all see and hear pitches for products that claim to help keep our bodies in balance.

But what controls these vital functions isn’t ads, it’s usually tiny receptors in our bodies. This time from our Catalyst team: how do you find those receptors? Host Vanessa Ruiz explains.

There are receptors in our bodies that control our vitamin D.

“Researchers at Arizona State University have been working on a solution for people with too much vitamin D, they suspect this process for balancing out vitamin D levels will also be applicable to other drugs and therapies for diseases like Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s,” said Ruiz.

“For the past two years I’ve been doing research on compounds which would act as potential vitamin D antagonists, the role of an antagonist, is to lower a block biochemical response by binding to a receptor, and not activating it,” said Lench Staniszewski with the Jurutka Laboratory at Arizona State University.

But what is so important about having a vitamin D receptor?

“Receptors are very integral parts of the body and human health. The vitamin D receptor helps regulate bone homeostasis,” said Carl Wagner with the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences.

There are a few steps in finding the receptor. The cells have to be prepped, cleaned, covered with enzyme and a red liquid is added to separate the cells

“In the context of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, many receptors are targets for drug design. Right now there’s no good treatment for diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s that is very effective,” said, Wagner.

This research could be a stepping stone to new drug therapies for untreatable diseases.

Vanessa Ruiz, Host, Catalyst

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