Professors Irv Weissman and Ravi Majeti at Stanford University and Professor Paresh Vyas at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford, are working on an antibody from the Stanford investigators that enables the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. They are now testing whether it’s safe and effective for use in people with blood cancer. In this week’s blog they tell us how they collaborated across the Atlantic to get public funding for a project that has led to a spin out with multiple backers and a promising clinical trial.
What if we could make our immune system fight cancer like it fights infection?
These aren’t the only teams in the world grappling with that question but for Professor Irv Weissman and Professor Paresh Vyas, the solution feels tantalisingly close for patients with blood cancer. Read more
Professor Sir David Weatherall laid the last paving slab during construction of the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford 25 years ago, marking the completion of the new unit. Bryony Graham looks into the remarkable career of a man who, aged 80, can still be found at his desk in the institute which now bears his name.
The topping-out ceremony (Image copyright: The Oxford Times)
This photograph, taken in 1988, shows Professor Sir David Weatherall, mallet in hand, ‘topping out’ the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford. The institute had been set up to focus on what he described as “what was rather hopefully called molecular haematology”.
At the time, the relationship between understanding how cells work at the most fundamental level and developing new medical treatments had not been fully appreciated: scientists in the lab and doctors in the clinic remained two different species. Read more
Could research into the extraordinary regenerative properties of the zebrafish heart one day help people who’ve had heart attacks? In an article taken from our Annual Review 2011/12, Sarah Harrop speaks to Roger Patient from the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit to find out.
Every six minutes someone dies of a heart attack in the UK. Heart attack is a frightening and debilitating condition that can cause permanent damage to the heart in those who survive it, drastically altering the patient’s health. But what if there was a way to repair the heart and allow these patients to lead a normal life again?
That is one of the many quests of Professor Roger Patient at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit (MHU) in Oxford, who is investigating the possibility of using stem cell therapy to regenerate damaged heart muscle.
Roger started his scientific career as a chemist, but soon decided that DNA was by far the most interesting chemical he’d studied and made the leap to genetics. At that time, the first experiments to transfer animal genes into bacterial cells were taking place, and Roger recalls being accosted by news reporters on his way into work who wanted to know if he was making a ‘test tube monster’. Read more