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National Deuteration facility
National Deuteration Facility

News and highlights

  • vaccination


    Improving mRNA vaccines

    Recent international research involved the deuteration of cholesterol for lipid nanoparticles to improve mRNA drug delivery and vaccines.

    The National Deuteration Facility at ANSTO provided the biodeuterated cholesterol, which was used with small-angle neutron scattering, to gain structural insights into the composition of the lipid nanoparticles.

    Deuteration can also be used to enhance the metabolic properties of some biomolecules and the structural integrity of some materials.

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  • bacteria


    Research into protein structures

    ANSTO's National Deuteration Facility is the world's primary source in highly deuterated monoolein, one of the most important lipids in the fields of drug delivery, emulsion stabilization and protein crystallization.

    The supply of this molecule has enabled multiple researchers within Australia and internationally to utilise neutrons to investigate protein structures. Demand for this molecule from the national and international community continues to grow.

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  • Lab


    To D or not to D?

    A collaboration of ANSTO scientists led by the National Deuteration Facility has developed a new screening method to rapidly determine if a deuterated molecule has improved metabolic stability.

    Because molecules labelled with deuterium (a non-radioactive isotope of hydrogen) can be metabolised more slowly than their non-deuterated (protonated) counterparts, they have a range of potential benefits such as reducing required drug dosage.

    In addition to the possibility of lowering drug doses, deuterated molecules can alter the type and quantity of metabolites that are formed, some of which have unfavourable side effects. 

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The National Deuteration Facility is partly supported by the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy – an initiative of the Australian Government.

NCRIS version 2