Acta Pharm. 56 (2006) 19-30

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Rewiev article 

Glycoscience - a new frontier in rational drug design


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Accepted December 5, 2005

Glycans are the most abundant and most diverse biopolymers in nature. Because of their highly specific interactions with physiological receptors, they participate in many crucial biological processes. All these processes are potential targets for therapeutic intervention, and carbohydrate-based drugs are rapidly being taken up by the modern biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Recent developments in the field of glycobiology have overcome the problem of glycan analysis and synthesis; and many compounds based on carbohydrates are now in various stages of clinical trials. This article presents glycoproteins in a new light, as an important biopharmaceutical target, giving an overview of their potential use as therapeutic glycoproteins and proteoglycans, inflammation blockers, cancer therapeutics and vaccines, inhibitors of pathogenic microbes, viral inhibitors and potential aids in the treatment of lysosomal diseases, neurological diseases and transplantation rejection.

Keywords: glycoproteins, lectins, therapeutics