Kinases are key enzymes involved in signalling in a number of healthy cellular processes including insulin production and cell growth. In cancer, aberrant kinase activity can lead to the cell behaving like a constantly running tap telling cells to continuously grow. This leads to uncontrolled (malignant) cell production and can be a very bad prognosis in cancer. Conventional cancer drugs produce adverse side effects such as nausea, hair- loss and bone- marrow depression. This is due to the normal cells such as those that make up the mucous lining of the intestinal tract, the hair producing cells, and the bone-marrow cells are attacked by the chemotherapy drugs along with the cancer cells.
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The research being carried out at The University of Greenwich aims to produce kinase inhibitors that will only target healthy cells and therefore be devoid of side-effects. Side effects sometimes prevent cancer drugs working to their full potential, delay the recovery of a patient as well as adversely affecting daily life in terms of work, family and leisure. Therefore, research outcomes will allow patients live fuller healthier lives. A second aspect of the research, aims to develop a chemical probe to reveal the structure of cancer related kinases. An improved understanding and knowledge of kinase will be instrumental in designing newer and more effective cancer drugs from the structural information that is generated. This information will be of particular use to pharmaceutical companies. The University of Greenwich is working in close cooperation with the Structural Genome Consortium (SGC) a philanthropic organisation which aims to disseminate such structural information. This will allow all research outcomes to be released for the benefit of the scientific community and cancer drug development purposes. The research project requires a full time PhD studentship over a period of three and a half years to generate leading results of benefit to the community at large.
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