How this machine helps us make the discoveries to defeat cancer
Here at the ICR, structural biology research teams are a vitally important part of the work to discover new cancer drugs.
We know that the main reason cancer is so difficult to treat is that it is enormously complex, and we need to gain a much fuller picture of that complexity if we are to identify new, more effective approaches to cancer treatments.
Dr Guettler and his team are using chromatography systems to drill down deep into the fundamental mechanisms at work in cancer’s development and progression. Their work focuses on examining and analysing proteins – tiny molecules which do most of the hard work in our cells but which can be used by cancer cells to drive uncontrolled spreading of the cancer.
Our scientists purify the cancer-causing proteins using liquid chromatography machines; these are are vital to our work in structural biology, as we cannot study most proteins in any detail without first purifying them.
The chromatography machine does this by separating proteins on the basis of numerous different properties, such as their ability to bind to certain materials, their charge or their size. All this takes time, and some protein complexes fall apart very quickly before we can study them.
Our current chromatography systems have seen 10 years of intense use and we urgently need to purchase new machines to stay at the forefront of cancer research.
With new machines, we can better understand cancer signalling, accelerate drug discovery and bring new drugs to cancer patients as fast as possible.
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