Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cell discovery opens new chapter in drug development

British scientists have uncovered new details about how the cells in our bodies communicate with each other and their environment: findings that are of fundamental importance to human biology.

Cells 'talk' to each other through a complex process called 'signalling'. When these signals go wrong, it can lead to all kinds of diseases, including cancer, diabetes and arthritis, to name but a few.

Scientists have long been able to see how cells send and receive signals at their outer skins, or membranes, but much of what happens afterwards has not been fully understood. As a result, many drugs on the market work without scientists knowing precisely how or what consequences they have for cell function.

Researchers at The University of Manchester in England have now developed a technique that will allow scientists to understand how these signals pass from the cell membrane into the cell itself, triggering a complex set of biological processes that have never been fully understood.

The research, published in the prestigious journal Science Signaling, will spark intense interest among the global scientific community, as they will hopefully lead to better drug design and faster drug delivery times. In addition, the findings will also provide biologists with a completely new insight into how our bodies work.

"Cell signalling is a fundamental biological process that is essential for life and when it goes wrong, disease results," said Professor Martin Humphries, lead researcher on the project and Dean of Manchester's Faculty of Life Sciences.

"Signals allow cells to 'taste' their environment in a similar fashion to how we taste food and drink. As an analogy, red wines have subtly different flavours, comprising a combination of hints of berries, oak, tobacco and liquorice. The same is true for cells that taste the thousands of molecules that make up their immediate environment.

"Our findings explain how cells might interpret these various flavours at a molecular level to generate an overall signal or taste. To do this, we have developed a technique that will allow scientists to examine how the receptors on the surface of cells pass information to the hundreds of proteins inside the cell that create the signal. Uniquely, our findings will allow scientists to look at all these hundreds of components at the same time."

The team's findings will finally allow scientists to observe how drugs work at an intracellular level, which will allow them to fully understand how they interact with the hundreds of cell receptors at the same time and what side-effects they are likely to produce.

Professor Humphries added: "Our findings will be of great interest to scientists and pharmaceutical companies as they open up new avenues for drug development and testing."

Aeron Haworth | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>