Image made of chemo drug binding to DNA

March 20, 2008 at 1:20 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, March 20 (UPI) -- A team of U.S. scientists has created the first three-dimensional image of how a chemotherapy agent targets and binds to DNA.

Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Purdue University School of Science said their achievement might lead to the development of better chemotherapy drugs.

Using X-ray crystallography, the scientists produced the first 3-D molecular level images of bleomycin bound to DNA. X-ray crystallography is a widely used analytical technique in which X-rays are directed through crystals and results are deduced from the pattern of diffraction of the X-rays, the scientists said.

"Our 3-D picture of the structure of bleomycin gives us a much better understanding of exactly how the drug interacts with the DNA so we can begin thinking about engineering a better drug, with less toxicity," said Associate Professor Millie Georgiadis, co-senior author of the study with Professor Eric Long. "Since it's a DNA targeting agent, there's no limit to what type of cancers we could target with bleomycin if we can decrease the toxicity."

The study appears in the online early edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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