Our research is geared to understanding cancer, its aberrant behaviour and control, and to translate our discoveries for the benefit of cancer patients. We also study the pre-malignant state, so as to understand risk and how to prevent and treat cancer.
The Edinburgh CRUK Centre integrates the latest technologies and multi-disciplinary approaches, addressing fundamental questions and big challenges in cancer research.
We aim to provide an inspiring training environment for scientists and clinicians.
The study is the latest to suggest there is no evidence that pregabalin, which is increasingly being prescribed, works.
Researchers had set out to test whether the drug could reduce bone pain in one in three patients – the threshold that would make it worth prescribing.
More than 200 people were tested in the University of Edinburgh study. Patients were divided into two groups and half were given a placebo – a dummy drug – and half took pregabalin for four weeks. All patients had bone pain without any evidence of the pain being caused by nerves.
No significant difference was found in the pain or quality of life experienced by the two groups throughout the study.
The researchers concluded that although pregablin is increasingly used to treat bone pain caused by cancer, there is no evidence that it is beneficial to the patient.
Bone pain is the most common pain caused by cancer. Radiotherapy can reduce pain but only in around one quarter of patients.
Lead researcher Professor Marie Fallon of the Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, which is based at the University of Edinburgh, said: ’’It is important to find out whether or not pregabalin helps reduce bone pain before it becomes widely used.
“Our study has shown that giving pregablin has no-more effect on pain than a placebo. This suggests it shouldn’t be prescribed as a way to control bone pain related to cancer.’’
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was funded by Cancer Research UK.
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A phenotype is one or more observable features or traits that report changes in a biological system or its reaction to its environment. Phenotypic screening is the systematic identification of agents (such as small molecules, biological molecules or genetic mutations) that alter a phenotype. A continuing challenge for innovative drug discovery is to identify and validate novel biological targets which are critical in developing and/or sustaining disease. Despite substantial effort over many years, compounds advanced to development using classical molecular target-based approaches often fail to show the anticipated efficacy in human clinical trials. The PDi will provide pre-competitive access to technology, assay methodologies, high-throughput data, materials and know-how. The assays will be used for screens on publicly available small molecules at the three academic sites - Dundee, Oxford and Edinburgh - which form the National Phenotypic Screening Centre (NPSC) hubs. Industry partners gain immediate access to the developed assays to enable internal drug discovery activities, in partnership with the academic collaborators.
The PDi plans to attract additional industry partners and translate novel biology from a global network of academic collaborators. All partners will benefit from these interactions as new industry-academic partnerships are formed first-hand from novel biological research.Through the PDi, partners will build robust, disease-relevant phenotypic assays with a focus on human-derived systems with the aim of identifying new drug targets and hit molecules. Promising candidates will be followed up for their mechanism of action in the cell in order to further their development into drugs.
Edinburgh University’s Professor Neil Carragher, Chief Scientific Officer for the PDi, said “The focus of the PDi consortium will be the development of novel phenotypic assays amenable to high throughput screening, with the goal of identifying new pathways and mechanisms for drug discovery, by employing systems with higher potential for translation into the clinic. The phenotypic screens we will use are more relevant to patients and their disorders and as such the goals of the PDI are to advance drug discovery towards improved clinical outcomes through joint academic-industry collaboration”.
Prof. Kranc was a first and co-senior author of the paper “Acute loss of Cited2 impairs Nanog expression and decreases self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells,” published in the February 2015 issue of Stem Cells. This paper caught the attention of the Young Investigator Award judges and earned him this year’s award. Combined with their previous studies, the Stem Cells paper helped the Kranc team identify a transcription factor Cited2 as the only known stem cell master regulator that controls embryonic, induced pluripotent, tissue and cancer stem cells by orchestrating distinct pathways. Prof. Kranc’s lab hopes to harness this knowledge to efficiently reprogram and expand tissue stem cells to employ them in regenerative and transplantation medicine, and to eradicate cancer stem cells to achieve curative cancer therapies.
To read an interview with Prof. Kranc published by Stem Cells and learn more about this prestigious award please go to: stem_cells_young_investigator_award
Applications are invited to join an innovative and exciting MRC funded 4-year multi-disciplinary PhD programme at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM) within the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at the University of Edinburgh. For details please visit the following page: http://www.findaphd.com/search/PhDDetails.aspx?CAID=45.