Photochemical Transformations

HCN Channel Targeting Drugs

Switching screenings from targeting Ih to Iinst channels

VCU researchers have developed a novel screening strategy for drugs that target HCN channels. HCN channels, often called pacemaker channels, contribute to a diverse number of physiological functions, including heart rate, pain sensation, as well as learning and memory. Blockers of HCN channels are able to regulate some of these processes, such as reducing heart rate, and have minimal side effects. Traditional screening methods for these drugs focus on the HCN channel which conducts the Ih current. However, the Iinst current could have a greater physiological effect due to its longer opening duration. As a result, our researchers have developed methods to change the conductance of the HCN channels from Ih to Iinst to investigate its potential applications.

The technology

Two different methods have been developed to convert the HCN channels from conducting Ih to Iinst. The first method, which involves photochemical transformation, leads to a permanent conversion of the channel. The second method, which involves physiological modifications, is completely reversible. These methods will not only allow for further understanding of the Iinst current, they will also allow for the drug screening of Iinst HCN channels. These drug screenings could lead to the discovery of a whole new family of drugs with clinical significance that may be more effective than the current Ih blockers.

 

In silico data is available.

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Benefits:

  • Longer opening duration
  • Effects occur at a faster rate
  • Minimal side effects

Applications:

  • Discovery of novel HCN blocking drugs
  • Drugs for heart failure

Additional information

Investigators:

  • Lei Zhou, Ph.D.
  • Qinglian Liu, Ph.D.

Patent status:

Patent pending: U.S. and foreign rights are available.

License status:

This technology is available for licensing to industry for further development and commercialization.

Category:

Biomedical, Research tools

VCU Tech #:

18-013

Contact us about
this technology

Magdalena K. Morgan, Ph.D.
Licensing Associate
mkmorgan@vcu.edu
(804) 827-6095