This week in techniques



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Drug delivery

Injectable, protease-activated depots of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)

Injectable, protease-activated depots of GLP-1 could enable sustained delivery of the peptide to treat diabetes. Escherichia coli were used to produce a fusion protein containing protease-cleavable GLP-1 oligomers linked to a thermal-sensitive elastin-like polypeptide that forms viscous droplets at body temperature. In mice, a single subcutaneous injection of the fusion protein decreased blood glucose levels for up to
120 hours compared with about 1 hour for an injection of the GLP-1 oligomer alone. Ongoing studies include clinical testing of the approach.
PhaseBio Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Glymera, a recombinant GLP-1 analog conjugated to an elastin-like polypeptide, is in Phase II testing to treat type 2 diabetes. The company was cofounded by the study's corresponding author.

SciBX 6(7); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.177
Published online Feb. 21, 2013

Patent applications filed covering elastin-like polypeptides; licensing status unavailable

Amiram, M. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Jan. 28, 2013;
Contact: Ashutosh Chilkoti,
Duke University, Durham, N.C.