Unique partnership produces life-critical 3D structures

Contact: Katarina Sternudd
Karolinska Institutet

Most diseases are caused by malfunctions in the body’s complex protein machinery. The next generation of drugs will be designed on the basis of 3D protein models that scientists are creating. The Structural Genomics Consortium laboratory at Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet has now made available the structure of PARP3, the four hundredth structure in this unique project to chart the body’s proteins.

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) is a collaborative project involving scientists in Sweden, Britain and Canada. Since 2004, the SGC has devoted itself to determining the structure of human proteins of particular medical and therapeutic relevance. The four hundredth protein structure PARP3, which today is made freely available to other scientists, can be used in the development of cancer therapies.

“The structural data from the SGC will be a unique resource for accelerating the early phase of drug development projects,” says Jan Lundberg, Executive Vice President Discovery Research at AstraZeneca. “We see great value in this kind of focused and effective work identifying human proteins, and congratulate the SGC on its advances.”

Since the SGC’s goal – to have 386 structures available by June 2007 – has been met by a wide margin, it is also a victory for the unusual partnership between the public and private sectors. The SGC is a charitable organization and publishes the 3D structural models it determines without delay or priority rights for its private or public financers.

“This result wouldn’t have been possible if it had been done by individual research groups focusing on their own special interests,” says Professor Jan Carlstedt-Duke, Dean at Karolinska Institutet. “The dialogue with the scientific community has also ensured that the results come to the benefit of other scientists.”

The structural models are not only powerful tools for drug development, they are also of fundamental importance to our understanding of disease mechanisms and of how proteins operate.

Karolinska Institutet is one of the leading medical universities in Europe. Through research, education and information, Karolinska Institutet contributes to improving human health. Each year, the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. For more information, visit ki.se

About the SGC

The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) is a not-for-profit organization with laboratories in Oxford, Toronto and Stockholm. The SGC is an instance of a public-private partnership and receives funding from Swedish, British and Canadian sponsors representing both the public and private sectors: Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, Karolinska Institutet, the Wellcome Trust, GlaxoSmithKline, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada through the Ontario Genomics Institute, Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, Ontario Innovation Trust and Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Stockholm laboratory focuses on proteins of significance to diseases such as cancer, inflammation and metabolic diseases. About 25 scientists are involved in the project, which is being led by Johan Weigelt (Chief Scientist) and Pär Nordlund (Scientific Coordinator).

Contact SGC Stockholm:

Chief Scientist Johan Weigelt
Tel: +46 (0)8-524 868 40
Email: johan.weigelt@ki.se

For further information:

SGC Stockholm – sgc.ki.se
SGC Toronto – www.sgc.utoronto.ca
SGC Oxford – www.sgc.ox.ac.uk
World Wide Protein Data Bank – www.wwpdb.org

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