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Designer protein kills cells (UK34, June 1 2006)

30 May 2006

A team of scientists from the University of Groningen, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany and the National University of Ireland in Galway have designed a protein that selectively binds and kills cancer cells.

 

The TRAIL protein induces cell ‘suicide’ (apoptosis) when it binds to the DR5 receptor which is abundant in tumour cells. However, it also binds to other receptors, which makes high dosages necessary to kill tumour cells.

 

Using a computer programme, the scientists designed a variant of the TRAIL protein designed to specifically bind to the DR5 receptor. Laboratory experiments confirmed that this is indeed the case, the team reported in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

 

A private company - with offices in Groningen and Galway – has been set up to further develop the variant protein for medical use.

Last modified:04 July 2014 9.08 p.m.

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