The Department of Medical Biotechnology was established in 1993. This Department has gained very valuable experiences in the range of production of recombinant pharmaceutical proteins. More than 50 kinds of protein (ranging from various antigens as vaccine candidate to single-dynastic antibodies) have been produced using prokaryotic and eukaryotic expression systems (esp. E.coli) such as fungal systems (esp. pichia pastoris and aspergillus niger), leishmania tarentolae expression system and mammalian cell expression systems (esp. CHO). Initially, we try to determine an appropriate expression system and then pilot tests are conducted to confirm expression and assess its efficiency. Genetic and non genetic optimizations are accomplished to increase protein production. Following the positive results, we perform scale-up processes. We have been trying to equip our laboratories with appropriate facilities for our researches. As an example, the Chemical Protein Laboratory was established to set characteristics of produced proteins and proteomics studies and Venom and Toxin Laboratory was established to search pharmaceutical compounds found in scorpion and snake venom with different properties such as ion channel inhibitors, anti-cancer compounds and compounds against infectious agents.
Activities in progress
- Identification and recombinant production of diagnostic biomarkers that have applications in cancer screening.
- Identification of new vaccine candidates (focusing on leishmania parasite and helicobacter pylori bacteria).
The Department of Medical Biotechnology is on the verge of performing drug discovery projects in order to combat infectious and non infectious diseases using valuable experiences of faculty members in the field of recombinant proteins, pharmaceutical chemistry and cellular biology. For instance, discovery of new antimalarial, antileishmanial, anticancer and antifungal drugs are the latest fields of interest. Different methods in this group are running simultaneously. These methods range from traditional screening of natural and synthetic compound libraries against target pathogens (whole cell screening) to methods based on genomics & post genomics era. Functional genomics studies, proteomics, venomics, transcriptomics, bioinformatics and biological system are its main tools.