UJ researchers make potentially groundbreaking protein discovery

Breast cancer cells. Researchers hope the new discovery could be used in the fight against cancer (phot. Dr. Cecil Fox)
Breast cancer cells. Researchers hope the new discovery could be used in the fight against cancer (phot. Dr. Cecil Fox)

Researchers at the Małopolska Biotechnology Center of the Jagiellonian University in Krakow have discovered a method of arranging proteins which could potentially lead to new drug treatments in the future.

The international team of scientists under the direction of British professor Jonathan Heddle discovered that it is possible to create 24-walled protein “cages” of 22 nanometers pinned together by a single gold ion, which could be used to convey genetic information in the form of DNA or RNA in a way similar to how some harmful agents do – only they could potentially carry material which could fight disease.

It is still early days of research, as this type of structure was previously believed to be mathematically impossible, and there are other hurdles, such as timing the release of the information in the body and avoiding elimination by the immune system. But the team are hopeful that it might be developed further to be used against illnesses like cancer.

The findings will be published in the prestigious British science journal Nature.

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