Photokina 2014 highlights

3D-printed molecule provides new perspective for cancer research

By

February 12, 2014

The 3D model of the G-quadruplex, a four-stranded DNA sequence, that is already in use as ...

The 3D model of the G-quadruplex, a four-stranded DNA sequence, that is already in use as a tool in pre-clinical studies for pancreatic cancer research

While two-dimensional modeling of double-stranded DNA molecules has been useful for the purpose of cancer research, the composition of the G-quadruplex, a four-stranded DNA sequence, has proven a different beast. A 3D printing lab at the University of Alabama has successfully produced a physical model of its molecular structure, improving understanding of its makeup and potentially, helping develop a treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The project, a collaborative effort from US and London-based researchers, involved the gathering of X-ray crystallography data of the G-quadruplex molecule and translating it into a 3D printable model.

“Preparing the G-qaudruplex DNA sequence for 3D printing was a challenge and certainly pushed the limits of what we thought was possible in the UA 3D Lab,” said Dr Vincent Scalfani, Science and Engineering Librarian at the University of Alabama. "The 3D printed G-quadruplex is stunning, you can see all of the symmetry, facets and angles within the molecule.”

Research has shown that targeting G-quadruplex sequences with particular compounds can inhibit or stabilize tumors leading to pancreatic cancer. As such, the 3D model is already in use as a tool in pre-clinical studies for pancreatic cancer research, enabling researchers to actually hold and better envision their target, where they previously relied on two-dimensional images.

“Having a live model is invaluable," said Dr Stephan Ohnmacht, from the the School of Pharmacy at University College in London who collaborated on the project. "Visualizing distances of bonds, electrostatic interactions and angles is easy and allows for further optimization of these anti-cancer molecules."

Source: University of Alabama

About the Author
Nick Lavars Nick was born outside of Melbourne, Australia, with a general curiosity that has drawn him to some distant (and very cold) places. Somewhere between enduring a winter in the Canadian Rockies and trekking through Chilean Patagonia, he graduated from university and pursued a career in journalism. He now writes for Gizmag, excited by tech and all forms of innovation, Melbourne's bizarre weather and curried egg sandwiches.   All articles by Nick Lavars
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 28,559 articles