Brain Tumour Treatment Is Set To Be Revolutionised By A Cheap Drug

A trio of medical experts from Manchester have made a potentially revolutionary breakthrough for the treatment of brain tumours.   Innovate Pharmaceuticals – led by Dr James Stuart, Simon Cohen and Jan Cohen – was part of the development team for a new drug, known as IP1867B. The pioneering medication could transform the future treatment of brain tumours.  The major cause of treatment failure in patients is resistance to targeted therapies and pre-clinical trials of the new drug have demonstrated its ability to sensitise tumours to the latest generation of treatments. Trials have even demonstrated a capacity for the drug to prevent tumours from acquiring resistance at all, which would dramatically improve the success of treatment for this particular cancer.

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Our work on multiple disease areas in the cancer field has shown that hitting a number of targets with IP1867B allows us to not only shrink tumours but unmask them allowing other therapies to attack them, said Dr James Stuart, medical director at Eccles based Innovate Pharmaceuticals. “This action of ‘turning cold tumours hot’ alongside the reversal of acquired resistance, boosting combination efficacy and a possible lowering of side effect burden makes IP1867B a true breakthrough in cancer treatment. The next step is to take IP1867B into ‘first in human’ trial. We actively driving this next stage of development and look forward to seeing the results,” he explained.

Alongside Innovate Pharmaceuticals, trials were led by the research team at the Brain Tumour Research Centre at University of Portsmouth, working with the University of Liverpool and the University of Algarve in Portugal.  The success rate for cancer therapies has been limited due to a combination of factors, such as the tumour’s ability to hide from and develop resistance to the treatment; excessive side effects; the treatment not being clinically effective; and the lack of penetration through the blood brain barrierIP1867B was shown to be effective at targeting all of these limiting factors.  The research team worked with existing cancer treatments and combination studies with traditional chemotherapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapies are now underway.

Source: https://researchportal.port.ac.uk
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Plastic-Eating Enzyme

Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world’s biggest environmental problems. The discovery could result in a recycling solution for millions of tonnes of plastic bottles, made of polyethylene terephthalate, or PET, which currently persists for hundreds of years in the environment. The research was led by teams at the University of Portsmouth and the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and is published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

 Professor John McGeehan at the University of Portsmouth and Dr Gregg Beckham at NREL solved the crystal structure of PETase—a recently discovered enzyme that digests PET— and used this 3D information to understand how it works. During this study, they inadvertently engineered an enzyme that is even better at degrading the plastic than the one that evolved in nature. The researchers are now working on improving the enzyme further to allow it to be used industrially to break down plastics in a fraction of the time.

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Few could have predicted that since plastics became popular in the 1960s huge plastic waste patches would be found floating in oceans, or washed up on once pristine beaches all over the world. “We can all play a significant part in dealing with the plastic problem, but the scientific community who ultimately created these ‘wonder-materials’, must now use all the technology at their disposal to develop real solutions,” said Professor McGeehan, Director of the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences in the School of Biological Sciences at Portsmouth,

Source: http://uopnews.port.ac.uk/