Accelerating Drug Discovery through a Networked Structural Biology Resource

Personalised medicine relies on the development of specific agents elaborated to interfere with a given therapeutic target. These therapeutic agents can be administered to patients that have been stratified according to tumour genotype and/or expression of specific biomarkers.

Personalised Medicine 3Sustained by considerable investment from Cancer Research UK (CR-UK), numerous targets have been identified and validated in the recent years. However resources to prosecute these in structure-based drug discovery (SBDD) programmes are limited either by investment or by technical issues. Many new targets are indeed not thought to be amenable to ‘drugging’ by conventional strategies. SBDD, together with associated technologies of protein expression and purification for biophysical and biochemical assays can be success-determining assets in addressing these challenges.

Our Vision: To accelerate the identification of pertinent therapeutic targets and corresponding treatments in the fight against cancer. By bringing together a expertise in drug development, the team has established a virtual structural biology resource, including improving access to specialist equipment and expertise, and sharing best practice, to improve target validation.

The Leicester CR-UK Centre Network Accelerator Award (CNAA) has been awarded to accelerate cancer SBDD. The CNAA was awarded to Leicester in 2015 and rests on the strong drive to push forward personalised drug discovery in the context of cancers. Relevant expertise and resource provided by each Centre will facilitate collaborative projects, build capacity in these key areas and train researchers.

In summary:

Overall purpose of the CNAA:

•To increase the number of drug discovery projects across the network that are structurally enabled

• To enhance access to protein production, biophysics and structural biology expertise and equipment across different Centres

•To ensure that best practice is employed by all the drug discovery programmes

Five key areas:

(i) protein production and characterization, (ii) biophysical assays, (iii) protein structure determination, (iv) fragment screening, and (v) computational chemistry

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Manager: Miss Anna I.J. Harding, University of Leicester, College of Life Sciences, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK, T: 0116 252 2974 (office), E: #CNAA_StructuralBiology 


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