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EMBO Gold Medal 2011 awarded to Simon Boulton
Date:4/20/2011

teractions and the recruitment of specific protein targets. These results provided new insights into the mechanisms by which PAR regulates DNA repair.

  • Discovering that the Fanconi Anemia proteins FANCM and FAAP24 are required for checkpoint-kinase signalling (ATR) in response to DNA damage and establishing that DNA repair defects of Fanconi Anemia cells can be suppressed by blocking error prone repair by non-homologous end joining.

    Potential opportunities for cancer treatment

    These discoveries gave rise to novel therapeutic approaches. Boulton's laboratory demonstrated that cells that over-express the ALC1 enzyme are highly susceptible to eradication by the chemotherapeutic Bleomycin. Since ALC1 is amplified in over 50 percent of human liver cancers, these findings may have important implications for liver cancer treatment.

    The prizewinner also showed that DNA repair defects of Fanconi Anemia cells can be suppressed by blocking non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). This observation raises the possibility that NHEJ inhibitors could be used to suppress cancer predisposition in Fanconi Anemia patients.

    Career stages

    The UK-born scientist started his quest to investigate mechanisms of DNA repair while studying for his PhD at the University of Cambridge from 1994-1998. He describes his first exposure to the highly competitive world-class research environment in Cambridge as "extremely influential". Boulton also recognizes that establishing his own research group at the world-renowned Cancer Research UK's London Research Institute (LRI), Clare Hall Laboratories in 2002 was a key step in his scientific career.

    Boulton, while still a young researcher, has been recognized with awards from both UK and international organizations, including the Colworth Medal from the Biochemistry Society and the Eppendorf/Nature Award. He became an EMBO Young Investigator in 2007 and an EMBO Member in 2009. Th
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  • Contact: Suzanne Beveridge
    communications@embo.org
    49-622-189-1108
    European Molecular Biology Organization
    Source:Eurekalert

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