Anti-histamine drugs work because they prevent histamine attaching to H1 receptors.Dr Simone Weyand, post-doctoral scientist at Imperial College London, who conducted much of the experimental work at Diamond, said: “First generation anti-histamines such as Doxepin are effective, but not very selective, and because of penetration across the blood-brain barrier, they can cause side effects including sedation, dry mouth and arrhythmia.In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust formed the UK's first Academic Health Science Centre.
Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions that improve quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture.
Prof Stevens said: “A key aspect of our program is to collaborate with the leading researchers in the world so that we can uncover the mysteries of how GPCRs work.
To fully understand this large and important human protein family will take a global community effort and the study of multiple receptors with different techniques and approaches.
The crystals took around two months to grow and when each batch of around 100 was ready, they were frozen and flown to the UK.
Here, Prof Iwata and Dr Weyand worked with Diamond’s scientists to analyse a total of over 700 samples using the Microfocus Macromolecular Crystallography (MX) beamline I24, a unique instrument capable of studying tiny micro-crystals using an X-ray beam a few microns wide.
The collaboration with the Iwata lab is a great example of success made possible by joining forces; in this case, our work on histamine H1 receptor helps to advance the field as quickly and efficiently as possible." Prof Iwata added: “The fact that we’ve managed to solve this structure in 16 months starting from pure protein is very exciting as it shows what can be achieved when a team of experts pool skills and experience in sample preparation, experimental techniques and data analysis.