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Trends Mol Med. 2006 Jan;12(1):34-43. Epub 2005 Dec 1.

Membrane-lipid therapy: a new approach in molecular medicine.

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Molecular and Cellular Biomedicine, Associate Unit of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, IUNICS, Department of Biology, University of the Balearic Islands, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


Although most drugs bind to proteins and regulate their activity, some drugs act through a new therapeutic approach called membrane-lipid therapy and bind to lipids, thus modulating the structure of membranes. Most cellular functions are highly dependent on the lipid environment because they are controlled by proteins in or around membranes. The wide variety of cell and organelle membranes and the existence of special lipid regions (e.g. microvilli) and domains (e.g. lipid rafts) support the possibility of designing specific lipid therapies. Indeed, recent evidence suggests that lipid therapy might have potential for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular pathologies, neurodegenerative processes, obesity, metabolic disorders, inflammation, and infectious and autoimmune diseases.

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