Conclusion and future prospects

Protein therapeutics are a very important part of modern medicine, and in certain situations they are the only effective therapies. Expanding with an ever-increasing speed, the protein therapeutics market is projected to reach $87 billion by year 2010 (Kalorama Information 2006). To realize such great potential, continuous efforts are required to optimize their efficacy, while simultaneously discovering novel protein drugs. As exemplified in this chapter, protein engineering and design have long been valuable tools in developing effective protein therapeutics with improved affinity, specificity, activity, stability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and productivity, as well as reduced immunogenicity. In the future, with better understanding of protein structure-function relationships and rapid development of in silico bioin-formatics and systems biology techniques, we are more likely to see an increased synergy between protein engineering and design strategies. In terms of discovering novel protein therapeutics, it is necessary to incorporate strengths from multiple disciplines, such as molecular biology, pathology, immunology, and nanotechnology. With orchestrated efforts, the "Golden Age" of protein therapeutics can be realized.

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