The burden caused by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias represents one of the biggest problems for our healthcare systems. The last medicine was approved in 2002 and today we only have symptomatic treatments. ARUK-ODDI brings together chemists, biologist, psychiatrists and neuroscientists, many of them with pharmaceutical background, aiming to accelerate the discovery of novel and effective treatments.
In the search for new medicines for cancer or inflammatory disorders, small molecules are invaluable tools for testing the activity of possible target proteins. Those small chemical compounds can also affect the morphology and phenotype of cell samples collected from patients, opening the possiblity to develop new therapeutics.
Alteration of gene expression is fundamental to many diseases. A better understanding of how epigenetic proteins affect diseases provides a starting point for therapy development and the discovery of new drug. We hope that this area of rersearch will ultimately provide leads to finding new treatments for dementia.
At the intersection between genetics and drugs In the context of cancer, genetic diversity means that we respond differently to various treatments. Pharmacogenomics sits at the intersection between genetics and drugs. Better understanding of the genetic landscape of cancer and the recent increase of targeted drugs allow us to better match patients with the best treatments, improving care.
From surveillance camera to drug discovery Video microscopy aims to improve target discovery and drug development and to do so generates large volumes of data. Fluorescence labelling helps make intrinsic cellular functions visible and computational tools then enable analysis of these data sets to improve our understanding of cellular functions.
Biomarkers Biomarkers are molecular features that give us clues about underlying biological processes. They are typically used to monitoring a disease or predicting the outcome of a treatment. Modern analytical equipment allows us to measure thousands of molecules at the same time. This technology will accelerate the discovery of more accurate biomarkers, with the aim to improve medical diagnosis and treatment.
While drugs were initially developped by testing natural products directly in humans, the current approach is to use chemical probes. These are small chemical coumpounds that inhibit selected targets, avoiding side effects. Professor Knapp produces structures of molecular targets and makes them widely available. This will allow a faster and more cost effective development of new drugs.