New research could pave the way to further important breakthroughs in the development of cancer treatments.
The research looked at why a protein that can play a key role in the development of cancer binds with drugs differently, depending on the amount of drug present.
The protein in question, NQO1, is already being investigated as a possible target for new cancer drugs as up to 25 percent of the human population can have too little of it which increases their chances of developing the disease. However, the protein has properties which mean that it binds differently to some anti-cancer drugs and the more of the drug present the less tightly the protein binds to the drug. This is known as ‘negative co-operativity’.
The research showed that this negative co-operativity does not occur if motion within the protein is modulated by altering its sequence. Amazingly, the researchers found that altering just one building block (a glycine amino acid in the middle of the protein) was enough to abolish negative co-operativity. This happens because this tiny change alters the overall ‘wobbliness’ of the protein. The findings could apply to other proteins and potentially lead to improvements in understanding a wide range of diseases.
Speaking about the research, Professor David Timson, Head of the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at the University of Brighton said: “It is already known that the lack of this protein can increase cancer risk. It is now known that this protein exhibits negative co-operativity with some anti-cancer drugs. Our research has now shed new light on why this is the case and established that by altering the ‘wobbliness’ of the protein we can change its properties and encourage it to bind with anti-cancer drugs more effectively.”
The research, which has been published in ChemBioChem, was carried out in collaboration with scientists from Queens University Belfast, Manchester University and Nottingham Trent University and funded by grants from the Medical Research Council and Association for International Cancer Research.
A Brighton scientist who helped develop anti-ageing compounds based on those found in red wine and chocolate is to explain how close we are to alleviating and preventing old age degenerative diseases.
Professor Lizzy Ostler, the University of Brighton’s Professor of Chemical Biology in our school, and a member of the University of Brighton’s Centre for Stress and Age-Related Disease, is giving her inaugural lecture on 20 March.
In her lecture ‘Not aged by time’ Professor Ostler will explain how she has used her “distinctively cynical approach to research, education and curriculum design both to inspire students and to develop novel potential anti-degenerative drugs”. She will also explain how her research demonstrates that the alleviation and prevention of the consequences of ageing have “finally become realistic and achievable goals”.
She said: “We are on the cusp of a real breakthrough.”
In our latest podcast, Lizzy discusses how close we are to alleviating and preventing old age degenerative diseases, as well as her teaching style.
Two University of Brighton scientists are joining a pop-up stand in Brighton’s Churchill Square shopping centre on Friday (1 Feb) as part of events to mark next Monday’s (4 Feb) World Cancer Day.
Marta Falcinelli, PhD researcher in the University’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences (PABS), is passionate about fighting the disease and will be talking to members of the public at the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) event.
Marta joined the University’s Stress & Cancer group in 2016, fulfilling her ambition: “I have always been intrigued by science and at university I started to be very interested in molecular biology and scientific investigation, dreaming to perform experiments and work in a lab.
Final year students from across our Geography, Geology, Environmental Sciences, Civil Engineering, and Chemistry courses took a trip to the beach this week to collect grab samples of bathing water from seven sites between Brighton Palace Pier and Brighton Marina.
The trip was part of a water and health module and was to look at how water quality varies.
The samples were taken back to our Category 2 microbiology lab for analyses which involved the students filtering the samples for different groups of faecal indicator bacteria originating from different source such as wild birds, dogs and humans.
The concentration of these microorganisms gives us an indication of the likely level of risk to water users. The students will collect additional samples and to analyse over the next two weeks so they can see how water quality changes from week to week as well as from site to site.
The university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science (PABS) has received a Silver Award from Advance HE’s highly-regarded SWAN Charter, which promotes gender equality in the representation, progression and success of staff and students in Higher Education.
The Silver Award was granted in recognition of actions implemented to advance careers of women in science over the past few years.
The School of Applied Social Science, meanwhile, won a Bronze Award for their first submission which was the result of concerted effort from across the school. The schools join the university’s School of Environment and Technology(SET) and Brighton and Sussex Medical School in holding an Athena SWAN prize. The awards are valid for four years.
Professor Tara Dean, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, is Chair of the Athena SWAN Steering Group and is the university’s Gender Equality Champion.
She said: “I am delighted that two more of our schools have secured Athena SWAN recognition. In order to receive the award, schools need to provide evidence through robust self-analysis of how they engage, support and develop staff and students and devise an action plan to help them work towards their goals of gender equality.
“These awards are an endorsement of our commitment to equality in our working practices across our broad subject portfolio. We continue to enhance our policies and practices to promote a culture of equality of opportunity and aspiration among our staff and our current and future students.”
The University of Brighton has held an institutional Athena SWAN Bronze Award since 2013 and in 2016 it became one of only a handful of higher education institutions nationally to achieve an institutional award under the new expanded charter which now includes disciplines beyond STEMM.
The new awards will be presented at a ceremony to be in Southampton. Meanwhile, the university is committed to all schools achieving a Bronze Awards by 2020.
It consists of a dual-screen display that generates real-time digital ‘lifeforms’ from interactions and local data. The design evolves as the data shifts, with the ‘lifeforms’ changing shape and movement. Read More →