Newcastle scientists host top conference in Gateshead

Cancer Research UK

Newcastle scientists will play host to an international audience of researchers and doctors at a major conference in Gateshead from 5-7 October.

The three-day event at the Hilton Hotel is being organised by Cancer Research UK scientists from Newcastle University and has attracted experts from top universities and industry across Europe, America and Japan.

Entitled ‘PARP 2005: Bench to Bedside’ the conference is dedicated to the latest research on PARP, an enzyme that signals DNA damage to the DNA repair kit found in cells.

Although PARP enzymes were discovered 40 years ago, recent research suggests they could form the basis of new cancer treatments. It also has implications for the treatment of stroke, heart disease and chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Cancer Research UK’s Dr Nicola Curtin, Senior Lecturer in Cell Biology at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, says: “We are very excited to be hosting such a prestigious event. The conference has attracted key international speakers from all over the world. It allows us to share our expertise and knowledge and exchange ideas for the future.”

Scientists at Newcastle University have an international reputation for anti-cancer drug development.

They have been able to attract the landmark conference to Tyneside thanks to their leading role in unravelling how PARP protects cells from anti-cancer drugs and radiotherapy.

Dr Curtin explains: “At Newcastle, we are working on a class of drugs known as PARP inhibitors which block the action of DNA repair kits. They result in the destruction of cancerous cells, while healthy cells are left relatively unharmed.”

Dr Lesley Walker, Director of Cancer Information at Cancer Research UK, says: “Scientists at Newcastle University have an international reputation for anti-cancer drug development and this is a great opportunity to showcase their work.”

She adds: “It is also a chance to highlight the new facilities at the Northern Institute of Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman building which Cancer Research UK has helped to fund.”

ENDS

For media inquiries contact Julia Haran, Cancer Research UK Regional Press Officer, on 0191 281 6736 or mobile 07900 137 935, or the Cancer Research UK Science Press Office on 0207 061 8318, or out of hours 07050 264 059.

Notes to Editor

Bench-to-Bedside Research

  • Cancer Research UK spends £2 million each year at Newcastle University on some of the UK’s best science and clinical research.
  • Cancer Research UK has contributed £4 million to help build and equip the new Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building at Newcastle University, which was opened by cancer survivor Sir Bobby Robson in February 2005.
  • Scientists at the new Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building work with researchers at the Medical Labs at Newcastle University and doctors and nurses working in the Clinical Trials Unit at the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment (NCCT) at Newcastle General Hospital, the Children and Adolescent Cancer Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Department of Urology at the Freeman Hospital.
  • This collaborative approach means that new treatments can be taken from design in the laboratory right through to evaluation in the clinic, allowing promising new treatments to reach patients quickly.

Cancer Research UK scientists play a highly significant role in developing the new generation of cancer treatments for children and adults, and their work integrates three strands of research:

Identifying new drug targets - Researchers in the new Northern Institute for Cancer Research Paul O’Gorman Building focus on samples from patients to identify better ways of giving treatments and finding new targets for drug therapy, as well as the pre-clinical evaluation of new drugs.

Developing new drugs - Cancer Research UK scientists working in the Anti-Cancer Drug Development Laboratories at Newcastle University make new drugs for evaluation before they are given to patients.

Verifying the effectiveness and safety of new treatments - Doctors and nurses funded by Cancer Research UK are involved in clinical trials at the Northern Centre for Cancer Treatment, at Newcastle General Hospital, the Children and Adolescent Cancer Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Department of Urology at the Freeman Hospital.