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News

DARTS meets the challenge in complex crystal structure determination

CCLRC Daresbury Laboratory : 09 September, 2004  (New Product)
Patients in the future may be recovering much more quickly from surgery with the introduction of a new molecule which suppresses the effects of the neuromuscular blockers often used in conjunction with anaesthetics.
Researchers from the drug development company Organon have been investigating the idea of creating a molecule that will 'cage' the blocking drug to suppress its action post-operatively, thereby allowing much faster patient recovery.

They achieved the desired action but in order to confirm the mode of interaction within the blocker complex it was necessary to identify the structure - impossible with conventional laboratory X-ray diffraction methods.

Working with scientists from DARTS - Daresbury Laboratory's Analytical Research and Technology Service - they were able to 'see', for the very first time, the structure of this new molecule in the detail they needed. DARTS provides access to the Synchrotron Radiation Source (SRS) with 1000 times the intensity of standard X-ray equipment. The combination of small crystal size and large molecular structure presented a major challenge but using SRS and advanced computational methods, DARTS revealed the secrets of the structure.

The determination of complex crystal structures by DARTS has also led to important breakthroughs for researchers in many other industrial applications. DARTS has helped solve problems across a broad spectrum of industries including catalysis, pigments, minerals and chemicals as well as the pharmaceutical application detailed here.
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