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Oligosaccharides in Drug Discovery

Glycobiology is the branch of biology concerned with the study of structure, biosynthesis, and function of saccharides (sugar chains), which may exist purely or conjugated to other biological molecules to form glycoconjugates. The study of such molecules is technically challenging as no sequencing tool, such as that used in proteomics or genomics, is available. However, following on from genomics and proteomics, there is increasing recognition of the importance of carbohydratebased molecules in basic cellular processes.

This has resulted in more extensive glycomic studies in the areas of glycosylation of therapeutic proteins, glycosylation patterns in cell recognition, cellular glycoprofiling studies in cancer and other diseases, correlation between activity and sulphation patterns in glycosaminoglycans, and the improved chemical analysis and synthesis of carbohydrate molecules.

Glycobiology offers enormous untapped potential in the discovery of new therapeutics derived from saccharides or other molecules which target the biosynthesis and function of saccharides.

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