Just like the London Underground or Facebook connections, biochemical reactions in a cell are organised into complex networks. Mutations (faults in the genetic code) that cause cancer re-route the flow of information in these networks. This can result in the formation of tumours, and metastasis, where cancer cells move from one part of the body to another. Understanding these complex pathways is one of the major challenges in cancer research. Dr Chris Bakal leads the Dynamical Cell Systems Team at the Institute of Cancer Research. He and his team will show how, by studying how certain proteins operate as part of cancer networks, we hope to develop therapies that are more effective against cancer, and less toxic to patients.
We are entering the era of the personal genome. Advances in low cost sequencing mean that in the not too distant future, most people in the UK will be given the possibility to have their genome sequenced, possibly even you! While this technology opens the door to medical treatment tailored to one's very own genome, such knowledge raises numerous concerns that must be addressed, including who has the right to access and make use of this information as well as how this personal data will be safeguarded in today's digital world. Along with these issues, will be discussing what our genomes currently can and can't tell us about ourselves, and what may be in store for the future. The interactive talk will be delivered by Dr. Nicholas Luscombe, Head of the Comuputational Biology Group at CRUK London Research Institute (www.luscombelab.org) and Dr. Anna Poetsch, a Postdoctoral Fellow and a member of the group.
Can we use nature's own biological weapons in the fight against cancer? Prof. Kevin Harrington leads the Targeted Therapy Team at the Institute of Cancer Research. Their goal is to develop novel therapies in which viruses are enlisted to assist in the selective destruction of cancer cells. Prof. Harrington will offer an introduction and insight into this cutting edge field within cancer research, focussing on using viruses to kill cancer cells. Surgeon and Clinical Research Fellow Mr Aadil Khan will present his work on an alternative approach in which viruses are exploited as a means of protecting normal tissues against the damaging effects of radiation treatment.
The Albion, City Of London