Drug design could soon be more intelligent thanks to pioneering research led by Aston University’s School of Life & Health Sciences.
Dr Roslyn Bill, Reader in Biomolecular Sciences, is co-ordinating a multi-million Euro project researching membrane proteins along with colleagues from 18 other institutions, including Nobel Prize winners.
Membrane proteins account for around 30% of the proteins in a cell. Membrare proteins act as a cell's "gatekeeper", controling which substances are allowed to flow in and out of a cell, and which substances should be blocked.
Eight out of ten of the world’s top selling drugs are already targeted at membrane proteins, but tend to have been developed through large-scale screening rather than an in-depth understanding of how membrane proteins work. The research project is furthering our understanding of cells and membrane proteins, and so has significant implications for drug design. The project could enable more specific drugs to be developed, to be used in the treatment of a wide range of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.