MADISON – Quincy Bioscience, a Madison, Wis., based biotechnology company that is developing health applications for a jellyfish-derived protein, extended its congratulations to a team of three researchers for their work leading to the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Osamu Shimomura, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass., and Boston University Medical School; Martin Chalfie, Columbia University, New York, N.Y., and to Roger Y. Tsien, University of California San Diego in La Jolla, are winners of the 2008 prize. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Tuesday the researchers are being recognized for their work in discovering, isolating, and utilizing a glowing protein in a species of jellyfish called Aequorea victoria that has become “a guiding star for biochemistry.”
Osamu Shimomura discovered this protein in 1962 when he observed the glowing jellyfish in Puget Sound, Wash. Since then, this calcium-binding protein “has become one of the most important tools used in contemporary bioscience,” the Royal Academy noted. Through attachments to other biochemical components, scientists have utilized this jellyfish protein to map cellular mechanisms and observe previously invisible processes such as the development of nerve cells in the brain and how cell damage occurs during Alzheimer’s disease.
The story continues as scientists from Quincy Bioscience have developed additional uses for the prize-winning protein. In addition to its tagging properties, the protein has demonstrated a remarkable ability to protect cells in the nervous system. This protein is very similar to the calcium-binding proteins found in the human nervous system, which become depleted in age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s. First presented at the Society for Neuroscience meeting in 2006, the jellyfish protein has continued to prove its merits in the laboratory as well as in humans.
“We are truly blessed by the work of these Nobel-winning scientists for their vision and dedication,” said Mark Underwood, president of Quincy Bioscience. “Their ground-breaking work has provided the opportunities to pursue the new application of this protein and to offer hope to the many that are afflicted with age-related disorders.”
Quincy Bioscience (www.quincybioscience.com) is focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel compounds to fight the aging process. The company’s products focus on restoring calcium balance related to neurodegenerative disorders and other destructive age-related mechanisms. Quincy Bioscience is developing health applications of the jellyfish protein apoaequorin for dietary supplement and pharmaceutical products. The company’s first product, Prevagen (www.prevagen.com), was launched in the fall of 2007 and is intended to supplement the loss of critical calcium-binding proteins depleted in the normal course of healthy aging.
Distributed through the Wisconsin Technology Council/ www.wisconsintechnologycouncil.com