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A molecular 'superglue' based on flesh-eating bacteria
Date:4/11/2013

her living things, thus gluing proteins together.

In an advance reported at the meeting, Howarth described how Jacob Fierer, a graduate student on the research team, greatly reduced the size of the SpyCatcher part of the technology. That achievement makes the technology more flexible, enabling scientists to connect proteins into new architectures, he said.

One of the applications on the horizon involves testing the technology as a new way to detect "circulating tumor cells," or CTCs. Tumors shed these cells into the bloodstream, where they may act as seeds, spreading or metastasizing cancer from the original site to other parts of the body. That spreading is the reason why cancer is such a serious health problem. Detecting CTCs is an active area of research worldwide because of its potential for early diagnosis of cancer from blood samples rather than biopsies and determining when new treatments may be needed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Howarth said that the Spy technology has advantages over other molecular gluing systems that are available. SpyCatcher and SpyTag, for instance, can glue two proteins together at any point in the protein. "That flexibility allows us many different ways to label proteins and gives us new approaches to assemble proteins together for diagnostic tests," Howarth explained.

Howarth and colleagues are working with Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford's technology transfer company, to find potential partners to bring the Spy system to the market.


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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

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