David Baker (University of Washington)

‘A ma­jor step for­ward': Sci­en­tists un­veil new ap­proach for de­sign­ing pro­tein drugs against any tar­get

When Longx­ing Cao ar­rived as a post­doc at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton in 2017, David Bak­er’s lab was al­ready known as the leader in a niche field of de­sign­ing new pro­teins from scratch.

The idea was to re­place, or sup­ple­ment, the usu­al method for de­sign­ing new pro­teins, i.e. bor­row­ing from evo­lu­tion. To come up with most new bi­o­log­ic ther­a­pies for can­cer or in­fec­tious dis­ease, for ex­am­ple, re­searchers gen­er­al­ly fil­ter out the best an­ti­bod­ies mice or hu­mans de­vel­op against a virus or bits of a tu­mor. Maybe they’ll tin­ker with it a lit­tle.

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