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Protein research center begins trial operations

The National Center for Protein Science Shanghai, the country’s first comprehensive national-level research facility in the field of life sciences has passed its review and begun pilot operations.

The facility will open to scientific research institutes by the end of the year, it said yesterday.

With world-leading capabilities in protein preparation, structure analysis, database establishment and computerized processing, the center will not only be a public platform for protein study but also boost China’s capabilities in life science studies, disease research and new drug development.

Proteins are the basic elements and executers for biological activities, and are the target of more than 90 percent of medicines.

“China began realizing the importance of protein research in 2004 and began planning the center in 2008,” said Lei Ming, its director.

Construction of the 700 million yuan (US$112 million) facility in the ZhangJiang High-tech Park in the Pudong New Area began in late 2010.

The center’s in-house team will work on a range of protein science projects, much of which will help to improve understanding of diseases such as cancer and diabetes, and enhance knowledge of new technologies such as the use of stem cells.

“Apart from scientific studies, the center will also help to develop patented technologies and equipment,” Lei said.

Since the first equipment was installed last June, staff at the center have collaborated with major Chinese institutes, and major breakthroughs have been achieved in research on hepatitis C and gastric cancer.


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