Cancer Chemistry Symposium Convenes at NUI Galway

Monday, 29 June 2009

On Friday, 3 July, an elite group of international scientists will convene at NUI Galway, highlighting the combined efforts of chemists and biologists in cancer research. Over the years, NUI Galway has built a strong foundation in cancer research through strategic recruitment of internationally recognised cancer researchers and clinicians. Professor Corrado Santocanale is one of these international recruits and, as Chair of Molecular Medicine at NUI Galway, he will speak about his research at the Symposium. With his team at the University's National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science (NCBES), Professor Santocanale is studying a protein called 'Cdc7 kinase' which is a possible target in cancer cells for drug therapies. According to Professor Santocanale, "Biology must bridge to Chemistry to find therapies for cancer. We now have a much better understanding of the molecular changes occurring in cancers and how cancer cells use specific proteins to multiply. Through Chemistry we have therefore the opportunity to develop drugs that, by targeting those specific proteins, have the potential to be more effective than current therapeutics. It is only through the best inter-disciplinary approach, that significant progress can be made". Also speaking at the Symposium will be Professor Karl J. Hale, Chair of Organic & Medicinal Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Queens University Belfast; Professor Ian Paterson, University of Cambridge, and Fellow of the Royal Society; and Professor Amos B. Smith III, Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, USA. These researchers are leading groups which conduct world-class research into the synthesis of architecturally complex natural products with exceptional promise in the cancer area. At NUI Galway there is a large multidisciplinary team with a focus on cancer. This team is working to understand the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and progression of cancer, and to develop new and better cancer therapies. The research groups include those working in the Centre for Chromosome Biology led by Professor Noel Lowndes and an Apoptosis group led by Dr Howard Fearnhead. These basic research groups have strong links with clinical teams in medicine, surgery, radiotherapy and pathology. Clinical and translational research encompasses a range of malignancies including haematologic, breast, prostate and gastrointestinal cancers. In the School of Chemistry a group of researchers work in the Cancer Chemistry area, led by Professor Paul Murphy. The School plans to continue the development of programmes in the design and synthesis of anti-tumour compounds, including those that are related to natural products as well as development of new cancer diagnostic tools, and studying the basic chemical mechanisms involved in cancer progression.

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