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Congratulations to Dr Xuyu Liu on being awarded a Drug Discovery Initiative and Cardiovascular Initiative Partnership Grant for his research “A PROTAC-based bioengineering platform for more efficacious antiplatelet drug discovery”.

Up to 85 per cent of strokes are caused by blood clots that block blood flow to the brain, and patients are often left with debilitating brain-damage related side effects. Treatment options are limited, with up to 90 per cent of stroke sufferers unable to receive the only emergency drug treatment currently available.

“Our research focuses on understanding the protein quality control system inside platelets (known as protein ubiquitination),” says Dr Liu, leader of the Cardiovascular-protective Signalling and Drug Discovery Unit at the Heart Research Institute (HRI).

The research outcome will pave a novel pathway to developing precision medicine for blood clots that can cause these devastating strokes.”

In this work with collaborator Dr Daniel Ford of The University of Sydney, Dr Liu aims to generate new knowledge in the areas of medicinal chemistry and platelet biology through the development of the PROteolysis TArgeted Chimeras (PROTACs)-based bioengineering platform.

PROTAC is a new class of chimeric molecules that represents an emerging technology for targeted therapy in drug discovery.

“PROTAC has been developed with some success for targeted cancer treatment. This grant will enable us to expand its scope and demonstrate its therapeutic potential in cardiovascular diseases like stroke, potentially saving thousands of lives,” says Dr Liu.

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