02.08.2016

University of leicester cancer studies and molecular medicine

A team from the University of Leicester has for the first time published a detailed description of a protein linked to many types of cancer.
The lab-based study from the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology now provides an opportunity for scientists to develop drugs to target this protein. Dr Cyril Dominguez who led the work at Leicester said: "My research field is structural biology.
Scientists have identified a new way to inhibit a molecule that is critical for HIV pathogenesis.
German scientists of the Institute of Structural Biology of Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen and the Technische Universitaet Muenchen have succeeded in elucidating the structure of an important region of the Sam68 protein. The tumor suppressor protein called adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) is a central genetic risk factor for colorectal cancer. A team of scientists at the University of Kansas has pinpointed six chemical compounds that thwart HuR, an "oncoprotein" that binds to RNA and promotes tumor growth.
Researchers at UC Santa Cruz have determined the structure of a key part of the enzyme telomerase, which is active in most cancers and enables cancer cells to proliferate indefinitely. Cancer is a disease of our genes - yet our understanding of how our genetic makeup affects our risk of cancer is still rudimentary.
Here's one more reason to consider cutting back on the soda: drinking too many sugary drinks on a daily basis has been linked to gallbladder cancer. Scientists at Lancaster University have shed light on the metabolic switch observed in abnormal cells like cancer. The University of Leicester has invested in cutting edge cancer expertise through a series of new appointments to its cancer research programme.
A series of integral cancer research positions have been filled, reflecting the University's status as a major centre of cancer studies within the UK and the foremost centre in the East Midlands.
Professor Catrin Pritchard has taken up the reins as head of the Cancer Theme, a multi-disciplinary research programme consisting of 52 academic staff across the Departments of Biochemistry, Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, Chemistry and Genetics and also colleagues within the MRC Toxicology Unit and the NHS. Professor Pritchard was previously a lecturer in the department of Biochemistry, having come to the University in 1995 after working at DNAX Research Institute, California.
She will coordinate the separate cancer research strands across the Cancer Theme with a view to achieving Cancer Research UK's (CRUK) Centre of Excellence status.
Professor Pritchard said: "I first started working in the field of cancer research in the 1980s because of the importance it has for patient benefit and the whole of human kind. Leading lung cancer oncologist and former CRUK clinical research fellow Professor Dean Fennell was recruited to spearhead the University's lung cancer initiative. The post will see him work with the Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine as well as the respiratory and lung cancer teams at Glenfield and the Commercial Trials Unit at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. Professor Fennell has previously worked to improve treatments of lung cancer and mesothelioma through his laboratory studies at the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at the Queen's University of Belfast.
Joining him at Leicester for the first time is Dr Richard Bayliss, a molecular biologist who will lead a team of researchers investigating the structures of cell proteins in order to better understand the process of uncontrolled cell division, which causes tumours to grow.


Dr Bayliss, who previously worked as a Royal Society Research Fellow at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, hopes the research will lead to the development of new drug treatments which will "turn off" the proteins in cells which cause cancer. Chemoprevention specialist Karen Brown has been promoted to Professor, with increased responsibilities in the Cancer Biomarkers and Prevention Group. Professor Brown is Joint Principal Investigator of the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, and works to find agents that can stop the onset of cancer and reduce the need for chemotherapy a€“ particularly compounds found in the diet. Can housing associations force the Conservative Party into a rethink on extending the right to buy? A chemical found in red wine remains effective at fighting cancer even after the bodya€™s metabolism has converted it into other compounds. This is an important finding in a new paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine by Cancer Research UK-funded researchers at the University of Leicestera€™s Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine. The paper reveals that resveratrol a€“ a compound extracted from the skins of red grapes a€“ is not rendered ineffective once it is metabolised by the body. This is an important development, as resveratrol is metabolised very quickly a€“ and it had previously been thought that levels of the extracted chemical drop too quickly to make it usable in clinical trials. The new research shows that the chemical can still be taken into cells after it has been metabolised into resveratrol sulfates.
Enzymes within cells are then able to break it down into resveratrol again a€“ meaning that levels of resveratrol in the cells are higher than was previously thought. In fact, the results appear to show resveratrol may be more effective once it has been generated from resveratrol sulfate than it is if it has never been metabolised because the concentrations achieved are higher. The team, led by University of Leicester translational cancer research expert Professor Karen Brown, administered resveratrol sulfate to mice models. They were subsequently able to detect free resveratrol in plasma and a variety of tissues in the mice. This is the first direct sign that resveratrol can be formed from resveratrol sulfate in live animals, and the researchers think it may help to show how resveratrol is able to have beneficial effects in animals.
The study also showed that resveratrol generated from resveratrol sulfate is able to slow the growth of cancer cells by causing them to digest their own internal constituents and stopping them from dividing. Professor Karen Brown said: a€?There is a lot of strong evidence from laboratory models that resveratrol can do a whole host of beneficial things a€“ from protecting against a variety of cancers and heart disease to extending lifespan. Dr Sarah Williams, Cancer Research UK health information officer, said: a€?This interesting study A supports continued research into resveratrol as a therapeutic molecule, but ita€™s important to note that any benefits from the molecule dona€™t come from drinking red wine. The study was carried out over eight years, and was funded by the Cancer Research UK and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre in Leicester, and the US National Cancer Institute. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research.
The Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) network is jointly supported by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research in England, and the Departments of Health of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The charitya€™s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.


Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last forty years.
Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses. Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
For general enquiries about the University, contact the main switchboard on +44 (0)116 252 2522. Airbnb brings Olympic tourists to Rioa€™s poorest neighbourhoods a€“ but will locals benefit? Dr David Guttery who has been successful in achieving pilot grant funding from the Breast Cancer Campaign for 12 months to develop a custom breast cancer specific gene panel for targeted sequencing of cfDNA. The proteins that we have studied, called Sam68 and T-STAR, are very similar and overexpression of Sam68 has been shown to correlate with poor prognosis in many types of cancers.
Furthermore, we show that Sam68 forms a homodimer that has never been described before and is crucial for its function in RNA splicing.
If we can identify or design drugs that bind specifically at the dimerization interface, we will be able to prevent the function of these proteins in cells, which could have implications for novel cancer treatments.
He said: "Thanks to an MRC Career Development Award, I started my own research lab in 2010, and we were in competition with other well-established laboratories. Structural basis of RNA recognition and dimerization by the STAR proteins T-STAR and Sam68, Nature Communications (2016). Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified a small, drug-like molecule that inhibits the function of a "disordered" protein in research that may advance a novel approach to hearing restoration. There were some extraordinary new discoveries being made at the time which changed our way of thinking about cancer and this was highly motivational for me. They help to justify future clinical trials where, previously, it may have been difficult to argue that resveratrol can be useful in humans because of the low detectable concentrations.
It launched in 2006, with A?35M funding over five years, with a further A?35M announced in 2011 for five more years to fund centres across the UK. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research.
Each ECMC brings together lab-based experts in cancer biology with cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas from the lab bench to the patienta€™s bedside. The NIHR plays a key role in the Governmenta€™s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world.



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