Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One Step Closer To Green Chemistry And Improved Pharmaceuticals

Date:
June 26, 2008
Source:
University of Copenhagen
Summary:
The end of dangerous chemical compounds in our homes? Cheap and environment friendly production of biofuel? Efficient design of medicines against cancer, Alzheimer's and AIDS? The solution to these challenges has come one step closer after researchers have solved an important piece of the puzzle behind how proteins are shaped.

The end of dangerous chemical compounds in our homes? Cheap and environment friendly production of biofuel? Efficient design of medicines against cancer, Alzheimer's and AIDS? The solution to these challenges has come one step closer after researchers have solved an important piece of the puzzle behind how proteins are shaped.

Proteins are the workhorses of our cells. They help to digest our food, are at the core of our immune system, and literally shape our body from top to toe. Proteins also play an important role in biotechnology in the form of enzymes, which are important in the creation of anything from pharmaceuticals to bread, washing powder and much more. Their possibilities are virtually without limit.

To take advantage of their great potential, a detailed understanding of the three-dimensional shape of proteins is necessary. This is normally achieved through a complicated and expensive process in the laboratory. For years, researchers have tried to replace these experiments by computer simulations.

Now, two researchers at the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen, Assoc. professor Thomas Hamelryck and PhD-student Wouter Boomsma, have solved an important part of the problem of modeling the three dimensional shape of proteins. After 5 years of research, they have succeeded in developing a mathematical model that incorporates knowledge from physics, probability theory and geometry to describe the structure of proteins. This has given protein researchers a valuable new tool for the improved understanding of the shape and function of proteins.

"Each individual protein has its own unique chemical composition, consisting of 20 different amino acids in various different combinations. There are an endless number of such combinations, each giving rise to its own shape. We have developed a simple mathematical model that captures these different shapes. This means that it will become easier for industry and researchers to use proteins to achieve their goals. For example in the development of green chemistry, where dangerous chemicals are replaced with protein-based products, which are more environment friendly", says Thomas Hamelryck.

Thomas also points to the fact that their computer model can have a great impact on the pharmaceutical industry.

"Proteins and illness are highly related, and most pharmaceuticals are targeted at proteins in our body. As we increase our knowledge of these proteins, the chance of finding more efficient pharmaceuticals for illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and AIDS are greatly enhanced", Thomas continues.

The two researchers at the University of Copenhagen are currently collaborating closely with partners in the biotech industry to explore these possibilities.

This research was recently published in the journal PNAS. The study was done in collaboration with statisticians Kanti V. Mardia and Charles C. Taylor (University of Leeds, UK), physicist Jesper Ferkinghoff-Borg (DTU, Denmark), and Professor Anders Krogh (KU, Denmark).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Copenhagen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Copenhagen. "One Step Closer To Green Chemistry And Improved Pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625093244.htm>.
University of Copenhagen. (2008, June 26). One Step Closer To Green Chemistry And Improved Pharmaceuticals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625093244.htm
University of Copenhagen. "One Step Closer To Green Chemistry And Improved Pharmaceuticals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080625093244.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins