Trim-AwayTM (2017)

Trim-Away is a new technology, developed by Dean Clift, Melina Schuh and Leo James, for the rapid removal of specific proteins from cells through a process of targeted proteasomal degradation.

Why develop Trim-AwayTM

The cells in our body contain thousands of proteins, molecular machines which carry out biological processes that are essential for life. Many diseases, such as cancer, neurodegeneration and infection, are caused when these protein machines go wrong. Thus it has been a long-term goal in science to characterise the functions of proteins within our cells.

A powerful strategy to study protein function has been to deplete the protein from the cell and then study the consequences on biological processes. Until now, scientists have relied on only two approaches to do this: gene editing and RNAi. These methods work by targeting the gene or mRNA, respectively, so that the protein of interest is no longer produced. However, in both approaches protein depletion is indirect and does not affect any protein molecules already present in the cell, meaning the techniques have fundamental limitations.

Unlike siRNA methods it is complete within hours rather than days, uses off-the-shelf antibodies and it is ideal for modulating the activity of protein in primary cells.

Ultimately we would like to develop Trim-Away so that we can remove pathogenic or misfunctioning proteins from living organisms so as to treat, correct or prevent disease.