Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Drug Discovery & Safety

In the research programme Drug Discovery & Safety, we are interested in the efficacy and safety of new drugs and novel means to decipher these aspects. Hence, we employ advanced imaging and high-throughput screening techniques next to computational approaches such as chem- and bioinformatics.

Bob van de Water

In this Division, we focus on advanced imaging-based phenotypic screening for drug target and drug lead discovery. As an example we study cancer metastasis and therapy resistance, for which we use RNA interference coupled to quantitative microscopy and quantitative systems biology modelling (see box below).

A second example is where we exploit cheminformatics to identify novel molecules with optimal target binding kinetics, affinity and selectivity. Such probes are vital for the understanding of pharmacological modulation of drug targets at the molecular level, which in turn can account for population variation at the protein level and thus impact precision medicine approaches.

In the end all our efforts are geared towards optimizing the desired therapeutic effect and minimizing adverse reactions of the drugs of tomorrow.

Cancer is a leading cause of death predominantly due to the drug resistant phenotype of metastatic cells. The aim of the cluster is to understand the signaling wiring in the metastatic cancer cells that drives cancer progression. With such understanding, metastatic cancer cells could be targeted by effective therapy. Our main emphasis is on the two most important drug targets in cancer, i.e. kinases and G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). These targets are highly “druggable”, which we exploit and further expand on in our drug discovery efforts.


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