BRCA1 deficiencies cause breast and ovarian cancer, rendering tumours hypersensitive to PARP inhibitors. Patient treatment can become ineffective due to emerging resistance mechanisms. Ross Chapman’s team at the Welcome Centre has uncovered a protein complex termed Shieldin that acts with 53BP1 to limit end resection at DNA double-strand breaks, which confers resistance to cancer treatment.
Ioannis Psallidas (Respiratory Medicine) and colleagues including members of the Target Discovery Institute (TDI) (Benedikt Kessler / Roman Fischer) have developed a score that predicts risk of death for a common metastasis of patients with malignant pleural effusion. Four proteins with a significant role in survival have been discovered, leading the road for new disease treatment. The PROMISE study results have been published in Lancet Oncology.
The FORMA/Oxford collaboration brings together Oxford’s expertise in disease molecular pathology and Ubiquitin biology, (including through the Alzheimer’s Research UK Oxford Drug Discovery Institute (ODDI), the Target Discovery Institute (TDI) and the Oxford Parkinson’s Disease Centre (OPDC)), and FORMA’s deep expertise in small molecule drug design and development.
Researchers in Ireland, the UK and US have discovered a new metabolic process in the body that can switch off inflammation. “itaconate” – a molecule derived from glucose – “acts as a powerful off switch for macrophages”, thereby reducing inflammation. The discovery published in Nature offers more effective treatment of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. Roman Fischer and Benedikt Kessler from the Target Discovery Institute (TDI) participated in this study.
A free one day symposium, to be held on 20 April 2018, Medical Sciences Training Centre, Oxford and organised by the Postdoctoral Training Fellows at MRC Harwell Institute. The theme is the influence of genetics and genetic regulation in modelling human disease – from molecular through cellular to whole animal level and encompassing developmental, environmental and behavioural interactions. Register here to attend for free.
Health Data Research UK is awarding £30 million funding to six sites across the UK, including the University of Oxford, to address challenging healthcare issues through use of data science. Professor Martin Landray, Director of the Health Data Research UK Oxford site said: 'We are delighted that the Big Data Institute at University of Oxford will play a major part in Health Data Research UK. This exciting endeavour brings new opportunities to understand the causes of disease and to develop new treatments with substantial benefits for patients and public health.'
Congratulations to Professor Chas Bountra, Professor of Translational Medicine at the Nuffield Department of Medicine, who has been appointed OBE for services to Translational Medical Research in the New Year's Honours List 2018. Congratulations also to
Dr Jake Dunning, Honorary Visiting Research Fellow in Tropical Medicine (ERGO) who has been appointed MBE for services to Clinical Research.
Professor Chas Bountra, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Affordable Medicines and Chief Scientist at the Structural Genomics Consortium, explains why a new approach to drug discovery and development is needed to address the urgent need for new drugs. In a new study, ‘A New Pharmaceutical Commons: Transforming Drug Discovery’, with colleagues, Dr Wen Hwa Lee, and Dr Javier Lezaun, call for ‘open science’ approaches to drug discovery and offer ways forward that would transform how the medical challenges of this century could be addressed more efficiently.
A multi-disciplinary research team from the Universities of Oxford, MRC LMB, Liverpool, Cancer Research UK and pharma (Forma Therapeutics) has performed structural studies of USP7 inhibitor-enzyme interactions, demonstrating that ubiquitin-specific proteases (USPs) are tractable drug targets for cancer and also other diseases. Professor Benedikt Kessler and Dr Adan Pinto-Fernandez from Oxford’s Target Discovery Institute were part of this study.
The Royal Society has awarded Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe, Director of the Target Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford and Clinical Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute, with the Buchanan Medal for his ground-breaking research on oxygen sensing and signalling pathways mediating cellular responses to low oxygen levels or 'hypoxia'.