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Harnessing genomic research

Regeneration of spinal nerve cells, a new way to personalise breast cancer treatment, rapid near-patient diagnosis of meningitis, MRSA and Chlamydia and effective vaccines to protect against salmonella are all important applications to have benefited from a £30M research programme built around harnessing knowledge of the human and other genomes.

A key feature of this LINK Applied Genomics Programme has been effective collaboration between industry and academia aimed at accelerating the application of knowledge of genomics in biomedicine and healthcare.

The programme funded 21 projects covering diverse research areas. Highlights from the programme include:

Nerve tissue regeneration- During spinal cord injury the nerves that transmit information between the brain and the body are injured and fail to regrow. The loss of this communication leads to paralysis and loss of sensation. Scientists at King's College London and Oxford BioMedica are investigating a receptor which allows nerve cells to reform severed connections. Identifying the genes that contribute to this regeneration will allow the team to understand why damaged nerve cells are unable to repair themselves. The work could lead to ways of stimulating nerves to regrow and repair damaged connections.

Personalised cancer treatment- A large number of cancers are linked to mutations in a specific gene or biological pathway. Researchers from KuDOS pharmaceuticals, Imperial College London and the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge are exploring ways to identify molecular signatures resulting from the loss of specific gene function in breast cancers that will correlate with susceptibility to a new anti-cancer drug being developed by KuDOS. The drug involved has the potential to kill tumour cells without affecting normal cells, so avoiding the side effects of hair-loss and nausea that often result from existing therapies. The genes and biological pathway under investigation are in
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Source:Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council


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