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Leading pharmacologists to meet in Brighton

The latest developments in drug discovery including solutions to tackle obesity, the latest on the Northwick Park drug-trial disaster and issues surrounding drugs used in sport and the Olympics will be highlighted at a conference in Brighton next week.

The British Pharmacological Society (BPS), Europe's leading pharmacological research society, is to host its Winter Meeting in the seaside resort, attracting experts from across the world.

Running from 16 to 18 December, the three-day conference will hear the latest research tackling the global obesity problem.

Other researchers will present their work on the safety of drugs, particularly the new biopharmaceuticals developed in the wake of the Northwick Park drug-trial disaster in 2006 that left six volunteers fighting for their lives.

A third theme of the conference will examine the latest techniques using stem-cell therapies to tackle heart disease.

Just three presentations from the packed programme will be press released but newsworthy research to be presented at the Brighton conference includes:

  • Professor Luke O'Neill (Trinity College Dublin): 'The IL-1 receptor / Toll-like receptor super-family: 10 years of progress'
  • Professor O'Neill's talk will deal with possible new targets for drugs to treat immune and inflammatory diseases.
  • These targets are the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and they have been identified as possible new targets to block in such diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis and multiple sclerosis.
  • They are also implicated in infectious diseases such as malaria and TB. TLRs have been shown to be over-active in these diseases - they go into overdrive and cause inflammation and damage.
  • There is a consensus emerging that inhibiting them might prove useful to treat these diseases, or, alternatively, if they are activated, they might boost the immune response to help generate new vaccines.
  • In his talk, Professor O'Neill will lay out the case for TLRs as excellent new targets worth exploring for these diseases where there remains a major unmet medical need.
  • He will also describe what to target his team has found proteins within the Toll-like receptor pathway that might lend themselves to therapeutic manipulation.
  • TLRs may also prove essential in the fight against malaria, as the disease has recently shown resistance to current medication (16 Dec).
  • Dr Sandra Diebold (Cancer Research UK): 'Stimulatory nucleic acids as adjuvants for tumour immunotherapty' (16 Dec)
  • Dr Stephen Poole (National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls): 'Cytokine Storm in the phase 1 trial of monoclonal antibody TGN1412 better understanding the causes to improve preclinical testing of immunotherapeutics' (16 Dec)
  • Dr Ben Field (Imperial College, London): 'New targets peripheral obesity' (17 Dec)
  • Dr Nick Finer (Wellcome Clinical Research Facility, Cambridge): 'Clinical challenges: can current drugs compete with surgery?' (17 Dec)
  • Dr Christine Mummery (Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands): 'Cardiomyocytes from human embryonic stem cells: towards cell-based therapy and disease models' (18 Dec)
  • Dr Marisa Jaconi (Geneva University, Switzerland): ' Tissue-engineered strategies using biomatrices to implant stem cells into the infarcted heart' (18 Dec)
  • Dr Kai C. Wollert (Hanover Medical School, Germany): 'Bone marrow cell therapy after myocardial infarction: the BOOST experience' (18 Dec)


Contact: Aeron Haworth
University of Manchester

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