New method promises fewer side effects from cancer drugs

Last updated: 01 November 2019

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A recent achievement in the field of protein research allows for better-tailored pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen's Department of Chemistry have developed a new protein-modifying method that promises fewer side-effects and could be pivotal in furthering the development of protein-based pharmaceuticals.

"Proteins are like a ball of yarn, a long thread of amino acids, which are turned up. This method allows us to precisely target these intricate structures, as opposed to making uncertain modifications when we don't know what is being hit within the ball of yarn. In short, it will help produce drugs where we can be far more confident about where modifications are being made, so that side effects can be minimized in the future," says Knud J. Jensen, a Chemistry professor of the University of Copenhagen.

The fact that we can now accurately target these yarn-like protein structures also makes it possible to develop drugs with completely new characteristics. This means that it is now possible to attach a fluorescent molecule to proteins in order to allow a microscope to be used to track a protein's path through cells. The main function of these proteins is to transport cancer-fighting molecules around to sick cells, so it's important to carefully follow their path throughout the body in order for it to be possible to safely produce medications that don't have unintended side-effects.

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