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Linking glioblastomas to DNA-protein parcels

Fast facts

  • Official title: Chromatin proteins as drug targets for glioblastoma
  • Lead researcher: Prof. Steve Pollard
  • Where: MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh
  • When: September 2016 - August 2021
  • Cost: £1,481,356 over five years
  • Research type: Adult, Glioblastoma (High Grade), Academic

Professor Steve Pollard is working with scientists from Canada and Denmark to look at chromatin proteins, to see how they could be linked to causing glioblastomas. These chromatin proteins are what help the extremely long strands of DNA to be wrapped up neatly into chromosomes. They will be using the very latest scientific editing tools to further their understanding of the interactions and defects in the proteins. Examples of the skills brought to this project by the applicants are: making glioblastoma stem cells; performing genome editing; experience with chromatin biology/biochemistry; models for drug development and drug screening.

There are around 1000 of these chromatin proteins and little is currently understood about how they regulate genes (turning them on or off) and which ones should be prioritised for drug development. Better understanding of exactly what happens when different chromatin proteins are defective will allow a more targeted drug discovery process. The team will also build on this work by trying to identify existing drugs that could be used to stop defective cells developing into cancer.

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Professor Pollard explains how he and his group are exploiting the latest genome editing technologies that have opened up new opportunities for understanding the biology of glioblastomas (GBM).