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Prestigious New Protein Initiative Announced


Wednesday 24 January


The Institute of Cancer Research is a partner in an exciting new initiative being established at Imperial College London to gain a better understanding of what happens to cells on the single molecule level when they are affected by diseases such as cancer.

The £5 million EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) funded grant, which is awarded in partnership with The Institute and the London Research Institute of Cancer Research UK, will focus on analysing and measuring the thousands of proteins and protein complexes found in individual cells.

The Single Cell Proteomics project will look at protein composition in individual cells using novel technologies, including laser traps, with particular emphasis on how they may change in cancerous cells and in stem cells. Studying proteins in this way represents a next step on from the human genome project.

Genes contain information which is translated into proteins in cells, and although scientists have now identified all the genes in human DNA, the monumental task of identifying the functions of many of these genes and their protein products remains.

The multidisciplinary research team, which includes physicists and chemists and biologists, has chosen to focus their research on the proteins found in and near the cell membrane – the barrier which separates the inside of the cell from the outside environment. This particular area of the cell has been chosen because many of the proteins in the membrane are altered in disease and membrane proteins are the targets of many existing drugs.

A greater understanding of proteins may lead to new treatments and medicines for diseases like cancer, and may increase scientists' understanding of how stem cells work.


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Find out more about this research


For further information please contact Nadia Ramsey:

T: 020 7153 5359 or

E: [email protected]

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