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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

New research looks at novel ways to combat drug resistance

Published: 28 January 2013

University of Southampton biological scientists are leading a major research project aimed at making drugs more effective.

Dr Malcolm East and Dr Howard Barton have won £287,000 from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for the three year project.

"We are interested in the role of ‘transporters' which remove unwanted material from cells," explains Malcolm. "Besides ejecting waste material, cells also remove drugs, which makes them less effective as treatments. We believe that lipids within cell membranes may be controlling this activity and will centre our research in this area. We want to know how lipids interact with proteins and how that affects their ability to do their job."

Understanding these mechanisms could suggest ways of improving the effectiveness of antibiotics, anti-malarial drugs and cancer treatments and boost the action of herbicides and pesticides.

The project also involves Tony Lee, Professor of Biochemistry at the Centre for Biological Sciences at Southampton, Dr Syma Khalid from Chemistry at Southampton and Dr Rik van Veen from the University of Cambridge. Southampton graduate Dr John Butler will work on the project as a post-doctoral researcher.

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