Monday, September 13, 2010

DIABLA looks to improve medicine

By Codell Rodriguez, The Southern,, Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2010
CARBONDALE - Drugs react differently for different people and an invention out of SIUC determines how the medi-cines work.

Luke Tolley, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, is the co-creator of Dynamic Isoelectric Anisotropy Binding Ligand Assay (DIABLA). The process uses high voltage to separate the proteins from each other in a capillary. Tolley said researchers look to see which proteins attach to the drug mole-cules.

Tolley will talk about DIABLA at the SIUC Technology and Innovation Expo Friday, Oct. 8, in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Building. Tolley said he will talk about recent data being researched through DIABLA, including a study on aminoanthracene, a common compound that can be found in cigarette smoke, damaging the pancreas of lab rats and leading to diabetes.

He said the process will also be used with re-searchers out of Norway working on cancer stem cells. He said they have drugs that can kill the cancerous cells but they don't know how they work.

"It's hard to make a compound more effective if you don't know how it works," Tolley said.

Tolley created DIABLA about four years ago with fellow chemistry and biochemistry professor, Matthew McCarroll. He said DIABLA is important because drugs do not act the same for everyone and some drugs have positive results but how they reach that result is a mystery.

"We've been using Ty-lenol for 50 years and we still don't know how it works," Tolley said.

He said an example of drugs working differently is BiDill, a drug for congestive heart failure that only works with African American patients. Another is Gleevec, a cancer fighting drug that will not work if certain mutations are present. Tolley said DIABLA could identify such variations and make it to where a patient would not have to go through taking a medicine that isn't going to work for them.

"It wouldn't solve every problem with drugs but it certainly could help in many applications," Tol-ley said.

He said he has set up a company to use DIABLA commercially but being a full-time professor the process is rather slow. Tolley said he is looking forward to speaking at the expo because people should know exactly what SIUC researchers are capable of.

"We really do some great stuff here," Tolley said.


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