New EU project to focus on membrane proteins with the aim of finding new treatments

A new, EU-funded project will investigate membrane proteins with the aim of finding new treatments for a range of diseases. Membrane proteins are responsible for transporting chemicals and messages between the inside and outside of cells, and they are vital for every process in the human body. Defective membrane proteins have been implicated in a range of human diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy, depression, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers and cataracts.

Furthermore, the bacteria, yeasts and parasites which cause many infectious diseases also rely on their own membrane proteins, which could therefore be used as targets for the development of new drugs.

The €15 million EDICT ('European drug initiative for channels and transporters') project will focus its efforts on around 80 of these membrane proteins. The project partners will map out the structure of proteins involved in diseases to identify compounds that could be developed as treatments. Meanwhile for proteins whose structure is already known, the team hopes to make real advances towards new treatments.

"Membrane proteins are seen by many as the next potential source of drug development, and so the EC is keen to fund research in this area," said the project's coordinator, Professor Peter Henderson of the University of Leeds in the UK. "However, they are difficult to study and are poorly understood, though the recent sequencing of the human and other genomes show they make up about one third of all proteins in all organisms, including humans."

The four-year project brings together scientists from 27 organisations in 12 countries. Among the biologists, chemists and imaging experts involved in the project are two Nobel laureates. Professor Hartmut Michel of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics in Germany received his award in 1988 for determining the three dimensional structure of a photosynthetic reaction centre, while 1997 laureate Professor Sir John Walker of the UK's Medical Research Council won his award for working out the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which our cells use to store and transfer energy.

The drugs industry is also represented in the project, by the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and a smaller company called Xention, which specialises in the discovery and development of ion channel drugs.

"At the moment, few groups of membrane proteins are being seriously investigated by the pharmaceutical industry, so this project will help to fill that gap," commented Professor Henderson. "By bringing together the best scientists in this challenging field from all over Europe, we hope to make a real advance towards new treatments for key diseases."

For further information, please visit:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk

Copyright ©European Communities, 2008
Neither the Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, nor any person acting on its behalf, is responsible for the use, which might be made of the attached information. The attached information is drawn from the Community R&D Information Service (CORDIS). The CORDIS services are carried on the CORDIS Host in Luxembourg - http://cordis.europa.eu. Access to CORDIS is currently available free-of-charge.

Most Popular Now

Pfizer and BioNTech complete submission to Europea…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today announced they have completed a submission to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for an Omicron-adapted biva...

Lilly will supply an additional 150,000 doses of b…

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced a modified purchase agreement with the U.S. government to supply an additional 150,000 doses of bebtelovimab for approximately...

Bayer to sell men's health product Nebido™ to Grün…

Bayer and Grünenthal have entered into a definitive agreement regarding the sale of Bayer's men's health product Nebido™ (testosterone undecanoate), for a purchase price ...

AstraZeneca to acquire TeneoTwo and its clinical-s…

AstraZeneca announced an agreement to acquire TeneoTwo, Inc. (TeneoTwo)i, including its Phase I clinical-stage CD19/CD3 T-cell engager, TNB-486, currently under evaluatio...

Demonstration of a potent, universal coronavirus m…

The SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19 has killed 6.3 million people worldwide since 2019, painfully highlighting the vulnerability of humanity to novel coronaviruses. Re...

The fourth COVID-19 vaccine reduces the risk of de…

A new study by Tel Aviv University and Ben Gurion University of the Negev, in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Health, has found that the fourth COVID-19 vaccin...

Vaccine protection against COVID-19 short-lived, b…

Since COVID-19 vaccines first became available to protect against infection and severe illness, there has been much uncertainty about how long the protection lasts, and w...

Research shows investigational drug fosters nerve …

Scientists from the University of Birmingham have shown that a brain-penetrating candidate drug currently in development as a cancer therapy can foster regeneration of da...

NIH launches clinical trial of mRNA Nipah virus va…

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, has launched an early-stage clinical trial evaluating an inv...

Anti-inflammatory compound shows potential in trea…

An anti-inflammatory compound may have the potential to treat systemic inflammation and brain injury in patients with severe COVID-19 and significantly reduce their chanc...

Vaccine-induced immune response to omicron wanes s…

Although COVID-19 booster vaccinations in adults elicit high levels of neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, antibody levels decrease substan...

SARS-CoV-2 hijacks nanotubes between neurons to in…

COVID-19 often leads to neurological symptoms, such as a loss of taste or smell, or cognitive impairments (including memory loss and concentration difficulties), both dur...