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  • Health & Medicine

“Crack teams” to solve cancer mysteries

by Kat Arney | Analysis

29 May 2008

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A crack team, earlier

A crack team, earlier

If you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them… maybe you can hire…

…well, unfortunately, the heroes of that infamous 1980s TV action show aren’t much good at molecular biology, and are unlikely to crack the biggest problems in cancer.

So Cancer Research UK has had to come up with a better plan.

Yesterday morning we held a press briefing to announce an important new initiative that we hope will lead to new treatments for cancer. The idea is to assemble “crack teams” of top scientists to tackle specific questions in cancer research, and the aim is to generate potential drugs that will be at a stage to be taken on by pharmaceutical companies for further development.

The first consortium to be assembled will be tackling senescence – the process that sends cells to ‘sleep’, thus protecting us from cancer

We’ve put together a little audio package featuring interviews from the people who spoke at the briefing, explaining the background to the initiative, the areas to be tackled, the science of senescence and how this will bring benefits to people with cancer. To quote the A-Team’s Hannibal, we “love it when a plan comes together.”

Click on the player to listen:

Click here to download (7mins 37s, 7Mb)


A-Team image taken from Wikipedia and used according to the rationale here. Please contact us in case of any queries.

The speakers in the audio package are:
Simon Youlton

Simon Youlton, senior business manager and scheme leader, Cancer Research Technology
Simon has spent the last ten years in technology transfer, identifying oncology research programmes that merit support with patent protection and commercialisation activities. This has included expanding CRT’s horizons to include new oncology opportunities sourced from academic institutes in Europe and he also contributed most of the ground work in setting up a USA office in Boston for CRT.

Professor W Nichol KiethProfessor Nicol Keith, Professor of Molecular Oncology at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow
Professor Keith obtained his undergraduate training in genetics at Edinburgh University before undertaking his PhD studies at the
Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in Glasgow. After post-doctoral research in areas related to cancer drug resistance, he established his research program in the Department of Medical Oncology at Glasgow University. In 2004 he became Professor of Molecular Oncology at the Centre for Oncology & Applied Pharmacology of Glasgow University.
Nick Adams
Nick Adams, director of business development, Antisoma
Mr Adams was appointed director of business development of
Antisoma in November 2003. Prior to this he was Business Development Manager of Antisoma for four years where he established significant development collaborations. Nicholas led the out-licensing of Antisoma’s lead product, ASA404, to Novartis.

Dr Keith Blundy

Dr Keith Blundy, chief executive, Cancer Research Technology
Dr Blundy joined Cancer Research Technology in 1998 following ten years’ experience in R&D management and business development in agricultural biotechnology. He holds a BSc in Genetics and a PhD from the John Innes Institute. He was a Fulbright Scholar during post-doctoral study in the US and has an MBA from London Business School. Dr Blundy was formerly a director of KuDOS Pharmaceuticals and Chroma Therapeutics.