Researchers develop new 'designer proteins' in fight against Alzheimer's and cancer

Posted by ap507 at Sep 24, 2014 09:30 AM |
Chemistry breakthrough that advances drug discovery is ‘stuff of dreams’
Researchers develop new 'designer proteins' in fight against Alzheimer's and cancer

© University of Leicester; L-R Dr Andrew Jamieson (lead scientist) with Dr Boris Allard, the EPSRC funded postdoctoral research associate who is working on the project at the University of Leicester

Researchers from the Department of Chemistry led by Dr Andrew Jamieson have reported a breakthrough in techniques to develop new drugs in the fight against diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s.

The team has developed an innovative process allowing them to generate a particular type of synthetic amino acid – and a particular type of designer protein - that has not been done before.

Amino acids are Mother Nature’s building blocks. They are used to make all proteins and so are essential for life, however Mother Nature only uses twenty of these building blocks.

The Leicester research involves the chemical synthesis of unnatural amino acids that can be used to make unnatural mini-proteins with new 3D structures and importantly new functions.

Their work, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), is published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.