This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Neutron Crystallography Aids Drug Design

Precisely tailored pharmaceuticals could reduce medical side effects

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Oct. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have used neutron crystallography for the first time to determine the structure of a clinical drug in complex with its human target enzyme. Seeing the detailed structure of the bonded components provides insights into developing more effective drugs with fewer side effects for patients.

(Photo: )

The atomic details of drug binding have been largely unknown due to the lack of key information on specific hydrogen atom positions and hydrogen bonding between the drug and its target enzyme.  In this research, scientists used the drug acetazolamide (AZM) -- a sulfonamide drug that has been used for decades to treat a variety of diseases such as glaucoma, altitude sickness, and epilepsy. But when the drug binds with the wrong form (called an isoform) of the target enzyme for the disease, it can produce unpleasant side effects in patients (so called "off-target" drug binding).

Enter neutron crystallography – the use of neutron scattering to paint a picture of these bonds.

By providing precise information on hydrogen bonding between target enzymes and the treatment drugs (carbon anhydrase II targeted by AZM in this study), the research enables improvements in targeted binding with fewer side effects. Neutron crystallography offers a new and unique insight into these details, providing imagery of the exact structures involved.

Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory collected the data at the Protein Crystallography Station using neutrons from the accelerator at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, LANSCE. The Journal of the American Chemical Society published the research, "Neutron Diffraction of Acetazolamide-Bound Human Carbonic Anhydrase II Reveals Atomic Details of Drug Binding" available online at

Researchers include Zoe Fisher and Mary Jo Waltman of the Los Alamos Bioenergy and Environmental Science group, Andrey Kovalevsky formerly of Los Alamos and currently at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Robert McKenna, David Silverman and Mayank Aggarwal of the University of Florida.

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science funds the Protein Crystallography Station at LANSCE. Zoe Fisher received partial support through a Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Early Career Award.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory ( ) Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company and URS Corporation for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and global security concerns.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 16,790.19 +13.76 0.08%
S&P 500 1,979.92 -7.13 -0.36%
NASDAQ 4,748.3610 -32.9030 -0.69%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs