Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

European membrane expertise to focus on new treatments for human diseases

18.03.2008
A new 15 million Euro project led by the University of Leeds aims to find novel treatments for many human diseases by bringing together the leading European experts in membrane proteins.

The project – the European Drug Initiative for Channels and Transporters (EDICT) – will target about 80 proteins, which play an important role in human diseases as varied as diabetes, heart disease, neuropsychiatric disorders like epilepsy and depression, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers and cataracts.

Membrane proteins are key to every process in the human body, channelling ions or transporting chemicals and so are ideal targets for new treatments. Infections by pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and parasites also involve their own membrane proteins, which can be specific targets for development of new drugs and antibiotics.

The research is mainly funded by the European Commission, involves twenty-seven partners from twelve countries – including two Nobel Laureates - and is set to last four years.

Coordinating the project is Peter Henderson, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Leeds’ Faculty of Biological Sciences.

“Membrane proteins are seen by many as the next potential source of drug development, and so the EC is keen to fund research in this area,” he said. “However, they are difficult to study and are poorly understood, though the recent sequencing of the human and other genomes show they make up about one third of all proteins in all organisms, including humans.”

“At the moment, few groups of membrane proteins are being seriously investigated by the pharmaceutical industry, so this project will help to fill that gap. By bringing together the best scientists in this challenging field from all over Europe, we hope to make a real advance towards new treatments for key diseases.”

Industry has also seen the benefit of bringing such expertise together under one umbrella and working with the academics will be pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and a smaller company, Xention, which specialises in the discovery and development of novel and selective ion channel drugs.

The researchers include biologists, structural biologists, chemists and experts in the three key technologies: x-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and electron microscopy.

The team aims to map out the structure of the proteins, so they can identify compounds that could be developed as a treatment for these diseases. Where they have already mapped some structures, the team will have a head start and hope to make real advances towards new treatments.

Other researchers joining the project from Leeds include Professors Steve Baldwin and Carola Hunte from the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Professor Peter Johnson and Dr Colin Fishwick from the School of Chemistry. All are members of Leeds’ Astbury Centre, the leading interdisciplinary research centre in the UK studying how life works at an atomic level.

The two Nobel Laureates involved in the research are Director of the Medical Research Council’s Dunn Human Nutrition Unit in Cambridge, Professor Sir John Walker, who also holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Leeds, and Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Frankfurt, Germany, Professor Hartmut Michel.

Jo Kelly | alfa
Further information:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/media

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>