One of the first faculty members at the Medical College of Ohio has been honored for his career in peptide chemistry that has spanned more than 40 years.Dr. Maurice Manning, UT Distinguished University Professor of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, was given the 2010 Meienhofer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Peptide Chemistry at the recent Roche Colorado Corporation Peptide Symposium in Boulder. The award is named in honor of Dr. Johannes Meienhofer, one of the leading peptide scientists of the 20th century and a pioneer of the modern chemical biology field.
“I am honored to receive an award named after Hans Meienhofer, who was really a giant in the peptide field and really a great friend of mine. I’m deeply flattered to receive this prestigious recognition,” Manning said.
The 2010 Meienhofer Award was presented to Manning in recognition of his legacy as a champion of peptides as interesting potential therapeutic agents.
“We are very pleased to honor Dr. Manning for his seminal contribution to the understanding of Oxytocin and Vasopressin, helping to support the vision of peptides as an important therapeutic modality,” said Ralph Di Libero, business development director for Roche Colorado. “This vision is key to developing better medicines for patients.”
Peptides are links of amino acids that affect protein receptors in the body. Manning most recently has made a name for himself by challenging the misconception that therapies developed with peptides are not as effective as non-peptide therapies.
While the non-peptide variety has been favored in the past because those made from small molecules can be taken orally and therefore are popular for pharmaceutical companies, more studies are showing with very rare exceptions that those therapies are not effective in the clinic, Manning said.
By contrast, peptide therapies, those that would be used with an IV, intranasal or through an injection, have proven effective in clinical trials, Manning said. He cites a 2010 report by the Peptide Therapeutic Foundation stating that 60 synthetic peptides have been approved for clinical use worldwide. Insulin is the most popular example of a peptide drug therapy.
Manning’s lab at UT has been a leader in the field of designing peptide ligands, agonists and antagonists for the four different receptors for the peptide hormones Oxytocin and Vasopressin. He has supplied these compounds to scientists around the world as research tools in their own independent studies.