Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mind the gap -- how new insight into cells could lead to better drugs

19.11.2014

Professor Dan Davis and his team at the Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research, working in collaboration with global healthcare company GSK, investigated how different types of immune cells communicate with each other - and how they kill cancerous or infected cells. Their research has been published in Nature Communications.

Professor Davis says: "We studied the immune system and then stumbled across something that may explain why some drugs don't work as well as hoped. We found that immune cells secrete molecules to other cells across a very small gap. This happens when immune cells talk to each other and also, when they kill diseased cells. But crucially, some types of drugs aren't able to penetrate the gap between the cells. So they can't easily reach targets within the gap, to work effectively."

The researchers took molecules of different sizes and colours and used microscopic imaging to see which size of molecule could get into the gap between an immune cell and another cell. They found that only the smaller molecules could penetrate the gap.

They even found that when an immune cell attaches to another cell it clears out all but the smallest molecules between them.

Professor Davis explains the significance of their findings: "Our research demonstrates that any drugs targeting immune cells need to be very small. Antibody proteins, for example, are too big and aren't able to get into the gap between the cells - they're even cleared away when cells meet. To make them more effective they must be smaller - something that GSK is working on."

This research leads to new ideas for making drugs that, for example switch off immune activity in auto-immune diseases like diabetes or increasing immune reactivity to cancer. "A lot of important targets for future medicines are in the very small gap between cells. This research demonstrates why in certain cases we may need drug molecules to be smaller to work effectively," said Simon Chell, from GSK's Biopharm R&D team.

PhD student Adam Cartwright played a key role in the research, spending time at GSK as well as in Davis's lab at the University of Manchester.

He says: "Being able to test out our theory with medicines that GSK has designed was fantastic. The idea that something I had found out can be used to develop treatments to help patients is incredibly exciting."

Professor Davis, author of the popular Penguin paperback The Compatibility Gene, concludes: "The practical application of this basic research comes from bouncing around our ideas with scientists working on drug design. The interaction between academia and pharma is hugely beneficial and we hope it will lead to more effective drug treatments."

Notes for editors

Please note the embargo: 10.00am UK time, Wednesday 19 November 2014

The paper 'The immune synapse clears and excludes molecules above a size threshold' is due to be published in Nature Communications. DOI: NCOMMS6479

High resolution images on request.

The Manchester Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research The MCCIR was established in October 2012 to address current priorities in inflammatory disease in an open innovation, pre-competitive collaboration between academia and the pharmaceutical industry. GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and The University of Manchester have each invested £5M to promote "blue skies" research over the next 5 years. Our mission is to bring together clinical, industrial, and academic scientists - and innovate at this interface or in this unique interactive environment.

Register to receive news releases: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/discover/news/register-news-releases/


Follow The University of Manchester Media Relations Team on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UoMNews
For other social media: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/connect/social-media/


Media enquiries to:

Jamie Brown
Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 2758383
Mob: 07887 561318
Email: jamie.brown@manchester.ac.uk

Jamie Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

Further reports about: GSK diseased cells drugs immune cell immune cells medicines

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>