A research scientist at the University of Aarhus, in collaboration with a team from Oxford University in the UK, has achieved a biotech breakthrough that could enable science to find new ways to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases, as well as to design drugs that only target diseased tissues, or improve the effect of existing drugs.
Henrik Helligsø Jensen of the University of Aarhus' Institute of Chemistry and his Oxford University colleagues have just published details of their groundbreaking research achievement in the world-renowned scientific journal Nature.
What they have achieved for the first time ever, is to attach two different sugar molecules to a single protein. This opens up new avenues of opportunity in protein biotechnology, since sugar molecules bound to a protein surface have great importance for the way that proteins recognise each other, interact and function in healthy and diseased cells.
The details of how Jensen and co. managed to attach two different sugars, especially the second one, are far too technical to be reported here. Suffice to say that the techniques used were both highly original and very promising for the future.
The announcement of this groundbreaking work in protein chemistry comes in the same week as a DKK 600 m (USD 110 m) donation from the Novo Nordisk Foundation for the establishment of a new protein research centre attached to Copenhagen University, which will serve as a national facility to support protein research throughout Denmark. The timing couldn't be better.
The news was reported in a press release from the University of Aarhus and by Ingeniøren (The Engineer).