RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A new groundbreaking discovery from researchers at the University of Virginia could change the way pharmaceutical drugs are developed.

According to a release from UVA, researchers have learned that albumin, a protein critical for transporting drugs in the blood, does not necessarily behave in the same way in humans as in animals, as scientists previously believed.

The new findings may lead researchers to carry out additional testing when exploring particular albumins and their abilities to bind with other drugs in humans, which could, in turn, help uncover negative drug interactions before medications hit the shelves or even before clinical trials.

“This work directly demonstrates that drugs can be carried differently around the body across mammals and highlights a need for caution when using non-human albumins or animal models in drug development,” said Alan Stewart, a co-author of the UVA study at the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom.