In the highly respected journal, Nature Communications, a team of Danish researchers reports that they have developed a new class of artificial proteins. In the long term, the results could lead to better treatment of cancer and diabetes.
Nature has created a host of proteins, which come in many forms, and which have many functions in our body. They are the body’s principal, and hardest working building blocks. For example, some of them provide our muscles with strength; while others make sure that our cells receive messages.
In spite of this natural diversity, in the past 20 years or so there has been great scientific interest in creating artificial proteins, in part stimulated by drug development opportunities.
Now a team of Danish researchers from University of Southern Denmark, University of Copenhagen and University of Aarhus report that they have developed a new method of creating artificial proteins.
Nature’s smallest building blocks
Artificial proteins are made from the smallest of nature’s building blocks. In this case the team of researchers have succeeded in combining so-called oligonucleotides (short DNA molecules) with peptides (small proteins). The peptides coiled around one another effectively, creating an artificial protein.
– We forced three building blocks together and managed to make them form a protein mimic, says Professor Jesper Wengel of SDU. He is the head of the BioNEC (Biomolecular Nanoscale Engineering Center) research centre.
He believes that the work has significant potential:
– We have shown that it is possible to enforce peptides together by this approach. It paves the way for testing countless new combinations, which could create new artificial proteins with functions, which nature itself has not created, but which we need.
Artificial proteins have a longer lifetime
Knud J. Jensen, Professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Chemistry Department, explains:
– When you work with artificial proteins, you have better control over the proteins’ properties. This is valuable when you are developing new, protein-based drugs and enzymes. In general, proteins have a very short lifetime in a body, a key parameter which can be improved for artificial proteins.
The researchers hope that, in the future, artificial proteins can be used to treat some of the major diseases like cancer or diabetes.
Cancer treatments based on laser irridation of tiny nanoparticles that are injected directly into the cancer tumor are working and can destroy the cancer from within.
Researchers from the Niels Bohr Institute and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen have developed a method that kills cancer cells using nanoparticles and lasers. The treatment has been tested on mice and it has been demonstrated that the cancer tumors are considerably damaged. The results are published in the scientific journal, Scientific Reports.
Traditional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy have major side affects, because they not only affect the cancer tumors, but also the healthy parts of the body. A large interdisciplinary research project between physicists at the Niels Bohr Institute and doctors and human biologists at the Panum Institute and Rigshospitalet has developed a new treatment that only affects cancer tumors locally and therefore is much more gentle on the body. The project is called Laser Activated Nanoparticles for Tumor Elimination (LANTERN). The head of the project is Professor Lene Oddershede, a biophysicist and head of the research group Optical Tweezers at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen in collaboration with Professor Andreas Kjær, head of the Cluster for Molecular Imaging, Panum Institute.
After experimenting with biological membranes, the researchers have now tested the method on living mice. In the experiments, the mice are given cancer tumors of laboratory cultured human cancer cells.
“The treatment involves injecting tiny nanoparticles directly into the cancer. Then you heat up the nanoparticles from outside using lasers. It is a strong interaction between the nanoparticles and the laser light, which causes the particles to heat up. What then happens is that the heated particles damage or kill the cancer cells,” explains Lene Oddershede.
Design and effect
The small nanoparticles are between 80 and 150 nanometers in diameter (a nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter). The tested particles consist of either solid gold or a shell structure consisting of a glass core with a thin shell of gold around it. Some of the experiments aimed to find out which particles are most effective in reducing tumors.
“As physicists we have great expertise in the interaction between light and nanoparticles and we can very accurately measure the temperature of the heated nanoparticles. The effectiveness depends on the right combination between the structure and material of the particles, their physical size and the wavelength of the light,” explains Lene Oddershede.
The experiments showed that the researchers got the best results with nanoparticles that were 150 nanometers in size and consisted of a core of glass coated with gold. The nanoparticles were illuminated with near-infrared laser light, which is the best at penetrating through the tissue. In contrast to conventional radiation therapy, the near-infrared laser light causes no burn damage to the tissue that it passes through. Just an hour after the treatment, they could already directly see with PET scans that the cancer cells had been killed and the effect continued for at least two days after the treatment.
“Now we have proven that the method works. In the longer term, we would like the method to work by injecting the nanoparticles into the bloodstream, where they end up in the tumors that may have metastasized. With the PET scans we can see where the tumors are and irridate them with lasers, while also effectively assessing how well the treatment has worked shortly after the irradiation. In addition, we will coat the particles with chemotherapy, which is released by the heat and which will also help kill the cancer cells,” explains Lene Oddershede.
Danish research is behind a new epoch-making discovery, which may prove decisive to future brain research.
The level of salts in the brain plays a critical role in whether we are asleep or awake. This discovery may be of great importance to research on psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and convulsive fits from lack of sleep as well as post-anaesthetization confusion, according to Professor Maiken Nedergaard.
Salts in our brain decide whether we are asleep or awake. For the first time, researchers have shown that the level of salts in our body and brain differ depending on whether we are asleep or awake. A new study from the University of Copenhagen reveals that by influencing the level of salts, it is possible to control a mouse’s sleep-wake cycle. The research has just been published in the scientific journal, SCIENCE.
“These salts play a much larger and much more decisive role than hitherto imagined. The discovery reveals a completely new layer of understanding of how the brain functions. First and foremost, we learn more about how sleep is controlled. It may, however, also open up for a better future understanding of why some people suffer convulsive fits when staying awake all through the night,” says Professor Maiken Nedergaard from the Center for Basic and Translational Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen.
The University of Copenhagen (UCPH) (Danish: Københavns Universitet) is the oldest and second largest university and research institution in Denmark.
Founded in 1479 as a studium generale, it is the second oldest institution for higher education in Scandinavia after Uppsala University (1477). The university has more than 37,000 students, and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the oldest located in central Copenhagen. Most courses are taught in Danish; however, many courses are also offered in English and a few in German. The university has 2,800 foreign students of which about half are from Nordic countries.
The university is a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), along with University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, Yale University, The Australian National University, and UC Berkeley, amongst others. The Academic Ranking of World Universities, compiled by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, sees Copenhagen as the leading university in Scandinavia and the 40th ranked university in the world in 2010. It is also ranked 52nd in the 2011 QS World University Rankings. Moreover, In 2013, according to the University Ranking by Academic Performance, the University of Copenhagen is the best university in Denmark and 25th university in the world. The university has had 8 alumni become Nobel laureates and 1 Turing Award recipient.
The Latest Updated Research News:
University of Copenhagen research articles from Innovation Toronto
- Simple technique to develop low cost vaccines for infectious diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases
- Malaria vaccine provides hope for a general cure for cancer – October 14, 2015
- Immune gene prevents Parkinson’s disease and dementia – October 11, 2015
- Danish breakthrough brings futuristic electronics a step nearer – August 18, 2015
- GHOST: Technology that leaps out of the screen – July 4, 2015
- Severe Infections Linked to Lower IQs – May 24, 2015
- Chemistry student in sun harvest breakthrough – May 6, 2015
- Crops can do their own weed control – January 14, 2014
- Global boom in hydropower expected this decade – October 25, 2014
- World’s tiniest drug cabinets could be attached to cancerous cells for long term treatment | therapeutic drugs
- Scientists map food security and self-provision of major cities
- Research funding has become prone to bubble formation
- Faster and cheaper diagnoses with new method
- Environmentally friendly cement is stronger than ordinary cement
- Quantum teleportation between atomic systems over long distances
- Chemistry breakthrough sheds new light on illness and health
- Researchers find molecular switch turning on self-renewal upon liver damage
- A new centre to analyse future disasters
- Breakthrough: New technology eliminates plant toxins
- The Smarter Science of Slim
- Biodiversity Crisis Is Worse Than Climate Change
- Quantum Optical Link Sets New Time Records
- Curved Carbon for Electronics of the Future
- New Ultra-Clean Nanowires Have Great Potential in Solar Cell Technology and Electronics
- Cleanair system said to cut energy costs by up to 25 percent
- Potentially ‘catastrophic’ changes underway in Canada’s northern Mackenzie River Basin: report
- Raging (Again) Against the Robots
- Roundworm genome sequenced by international research project
- iBridge’s success story: small office but a classroom for big global innovation
- Danish Eco City Proves Waste Management Can Reverse Greenhouse Trend
- A Natural Obsession
- James Dyson Award National Winners announced
- Climate Wizard Makes Large Databases of Climate Information Visual, Accessible
- Trusting Nature as the Climate Referee
- Setting Boundaries: 10 Guidelines to Save Earth
- In Denmark, Ambitious Plan for Electric Cars
- Climate change cover-up? You better believe it
- Earth ‘heading for 6C’ of warming
People who have had an infection that made them so sick they had to be hospitalized may have IQs that are slightly lower than average, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University in Denmark examined the hospital records of 190,000 Danish men born between 1974 and 1994. All the men took IQ tests at age 19, as part of the process of signing up for Denmark’s mandatory draft. The tests were designed to assess their logical, verbal, numerical and spatial reasoning.
After adjusting for factors known to track with people’s IQ scores, such as social conditions and the education levels of their parents, the researchers found that the average IQ score of the men who had been hospitalized for an infection before they took the IQ test — about 35 percent of the study cohort — were 1.76 points below the average of the men in the study who had not been hospitalized for an infection.
“Infections in the brain affected the cognitive ability the most, but many other types of infections severe enough to require hospitalization can also impair a patient’s cognitive ability,” study author Dr. Michael Eriksen Benrós, a researcher at the National Centre for Register-Based Research, said in a statement.