Crystallizing Cancer Drugs Look Like Beautiful Spaceship Battles

Friday, 14 November 2014 - 2:17PM
Medical Tech
Science Art
Friday, 14 November 2014 - 2:17PM
Crystallizing Cancer Drugs Look Like Beautiful Spaceship Battles

X-Ray crystallography is essential for the development of specific drug therapies for various diseases, as the structure of the crystals that form from a drug is dependent on several different biological and chemical properties that determine how the drug interacts with the body. In honor of International Year of Crystallography, which celebrates this influential technique, the Royal Albert Hall of London is featuring the X-Ray crystallography photographs of artist Max Alexander.

 

Here is a depiction of the quickly-forming crystals of cancer drugs, which looks somewhat like a prettier version of a Star Wars starship battle:

 

Crystallizing Cancer Drug

[Credit: Max Alexander]

 

These are the needle formations of a malaria drug crystallization, which is reminiscent of the lasers shot during those battles:

 

Crystallizing Cancer Drug

[Credit: Max Alexander]

 

Here are a few more amazing pictures created using X-Ray crystallography. First, a crystal between two diamonds (the hardest substances in the world), is compressed and its structure warped:

 

Crystallography

 

 The eye of crystallographer Margarete Neu reflected from her computer screen:

Crystallography

 

The crystal structure of a protein that coordinates the assembly of centrosomes, which direct the process of cell division in the human body:

 

Crystallography

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