Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Groundbreaking Research Into Deadly Diseases

09.12.2005


Pioneering research by a North East scientist could lead to a cure for some of the most deadly antibiotic-resistant diseases.

Toxic Shock, Septicemia and the flesh-eating disease necrotizing faciitis are just some of the potentially fatal invasive infections caused by the streptococcus bacterium, which has increased significantly over the past 10 years.

Until now, scientists have not understood what turns this ordinary bacterium – which is best known as the cause of sore throats - into something horrendous that can cause very invasive and potentially fatal diseases.



Now, Dr Gary Black, and a team from Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences, has isolated one of the main enzymes implicated in disease - known as a hyaluronidase, HylP1. In a process similar to the one used in DNA testing, pure enzymes were produced in large quantities, by isolating the gene and then inserting it into a safe micro-organism for production.

Once the genes were cloned, the enzyme it produces, HylP1, was crystallised and then taken to the University of York – one of only a few UK centres specialising in structural biology - where Dr Black worked with scientists to solve the shape of the enzyme. There, he discovered its rare triple-stranded beta-helix shape, which is similar to only four other enzymes out of the thousands tested in recent years. He says:

“Solving the three dimensional structure of the enzyme means we have a better understanding of how the enzymes bind to other matter and how they work. We need to understand how the enzyme works to understand how we can stop it”.

Dr Black’s findings are published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), one of the world’s most cited multidisciplinary scientific serials. Set up in 1914, it publishes cutting-edge research and spans biological, physical and social sciences.

Dr Black now hopes one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies will take up his research and use his findings to develop revolutionary life saving drugs. He says: “This is a major breakthrough which has the potential to save thousands of lives in the future.”

Dr Black, 39, from County Durham, did a post-doctorate at Newcastle University and was a lecturer at Sunderland University before joining Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences five years ago.

He started this pioneering research when he joined Northumbria and has been assisted by PhD student Anna-Marie Lindsay and the now qualified Dr Nicola Smith.

Professor John Ditch, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Consultancy) at Northumbria University recognised the importance of this ground-breaking research when he awarded Dr Black a Promising Research Fellowship grant last year.

He says: “This is a very exciting research project with the potential to save lives in the future. Dr Black and his team have shown immense dedication and have forged great links with the University of York to develop and refine the research findings. Dr Black has acted as Principal Supervisor to two PhD students during the research and the University is delighted to have been able to support such a major breakthrough, with an investment of £75,000 over five years.”

Ruth Laing | alfa
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org
http://www.northumbria.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

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: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>