UVA researchers release guidelines for x-ray crystallography, cancer research

New guidelines for researchers wanting to study how molecules in the body use metals such as iron and magnesium to maintain good health have been established by researchers at the University of Virginia (UVA).  

The news guidelines are aimed help scientists in the field of x-ray crystallography to assist in the development of new drugs to fight cancer, according to a university press release published May 25. The new guidelines were published in the April issue of Nature Protocols.   

The hope is for scientists to avoid inaccuracy, error and improve the quality of submicroscopic research, explained lead author Wladek Minor, PhD, of the UVA School of Medicine.  

“The compilation of the best practices and potential pitfalls for the accurate characterization of a metal binding site in any protein or virus is no easy task and requires years of combined experience and efforts from many researchers from different areas of expertise,” Minor said in a prepared statement. “We hope that our research will improve the quality and reliability of research that involves handling metal-containing samples and eventually contribute to promoting research reproducibility in both academic and commercial settings.” 

Because there is an entire class of cancer drugs that is metal based, Minor and his colleagues asserted that an understanding of how the body interacts with metals is critical in advancing cancer research.