Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 3, 863-873 (October 2004) | doi:10.1038/nrd1521

Glycomics: a pathway to a class of new and improved therapeutics

Zachary Shriver1, S. Raguram2 & Ram Sasisekharan3  About the authors


Complex glycans that are located at the surface of cells, deposited in the extracellular matrix and attached to soluble signalling molecules have a crucial role in the phenotypic expression of cellular genotypes. However, owing to their structural complexity and some redundancy in terms of structures that elicit a function, the therapeutic potential of complex glycans has not been well exploited, with a few notable exceptions. This review outlines recent advances that promise to increase our ability to use complex glycans as therapeutics. Opportunities for the development of further structure–function relationships for these complex molecules are also discussed.

Author affiliations

  1. Momenta Pharmaceuticals, 43 Moulton Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
  2. Parivid Corporation, One Broadway Suite 600, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142, USA.
  3. Biological Engineering Division, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Correspondence to: Ram Sasisekharan3 Email:


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