2019 news

8 October 2019

Replacing Animal Models in Drug Discovery: Development of an Ex-Vivo Breast Cancer Patient Derived Explant Platform

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester led by Catrin Pritchard's research group.

Translation research has significantly improved the outcomes of breast cancer patients over the past few years.  From simple cell cultures to animal models, they have all been instrumental in translating breast cancer research from bench to bedside.

Congratulations to Constantinos Demetriou who won a poster prize at our Midlands 3Rs Symposium for his poster presentation on Replacing Animal Models in Drug Discovery.


13 September 2019

Leicester researchers develop novel heart pump to help people with heart failure

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester led by David Adlam in collaboration with Piyal Samara-Ratna (Leicester Space Centre) and supported by colleagues in the University of Sheffield working on a pig model. This is funded by the British Heart Foundation with the technology having the potential to save and improve the quality of lives of patients worldwide.


13 August 2019 

HHIPL1, a Gene at the 14q32 Coronary Artery Disease Locus, Positively Regulates Hedgehog Signalling and Promotes Atherosclerosis

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester supported by the Division of Biomedical Services let by Tom Webb's research group.

This study is related to coronary artery disease and how genome-wide association studies have identified chromosome 14q32 as a locus for coronary artery disease.


18 July 2019 

Statistics of scientific procedures on living animals, Great Britain: 2018

Each year the Home Office provides are report on the statistics across Great Britain.


9 May 2019 

No evidence that portion size influences food consumption in male Sprague Dawley rats

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester supported by the Division of Biomedical Services led by James McCutcheon's research group.

Highlights:

  • Portion size effect (PSE) refers to increased food intake induced by large portions.
  • Although widely replicated in human feeding studies, it may not exist in animals.
  • Presence of a PSE in animals would shed light on its mechanisms, which are not known.
  • Here, we find no evidence of PSE in male Sprague Dawley rats under a number of experimental conditions.
  • This suggests that the human PSE is more likely due to socio-cognitive processes.

24 April 2019 

p53 mutants cooperate with HIF-1 in transcriptional regulation of extracellular matrix components to promote tumour progression

Studies carried out by researchers from Cambridge University supported by the Division of Biomedical Services led by Ivano Amelio's research group.

Expression in cancer cells of novel proteins generated by mutations in the TP53 gene is an important prognostic factor; however, how p53 mutants promote cancer progression is largely unknown. Here, we describe a molecular mechanism of gain-of-function by mutant p53 in hypoxic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells. We identified the existence of a hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1)/mutant p53 complex, exerting transcriptional control of a specific subset of protumorigenic genes, codifying for extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Employing in vivo cancer models and analysing clinical material, we demonstrate that these ECM components substantially contribute to the synergistic protumorigenic activity of p53 mutants and HIF-1. Our data indicate that HIF-1/mutant p53 cross-talk is an innovative potential therapeutic target to treat advanced NSCLC.

  • Find out more from PNAS.

27 February 2019 

Cortical Local Field Potential Power Is Associated with Behavioural Detection of Near-threshold Stimuli in the Rat Whisker System: Dissociation between Orbitofrontal and Somatosensory Cortices

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester supported by the Division of Biomedical Services let by Todor Gerdjikov research group.


27 February 2019 

Synchronization in the prefrontal–striatal circuit tracks behavioural choice in a go–no‐go task in rats

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester supported by the Division of Biomedical Services led by Todor Gerdjikov research group.


20 February 2019 

Detecting and targeting senescent cells using molecularly imprinted nanoparticles

Studies carried out by researchers at the University of Leicester supported by the Division of Biomedical Services led by Salvador Macip's research group.

We show that molecularly imprinted nanoparticles (nanoMIPs) can be designed to target surface proteins in senescent cells, using as epitopes newly described membrane proteins with extracellular domains that are specifically induced in this cells. This provides a novel tool to detect senescent cells (when the nanoMIPs are tagged with fluorescent probes) or destroy them (by loading the nanoparticles with the adequate drug, which will then be specifically released).

We show in this study that this is indeed possible in cells in culture, which can be highlighted or eliminated using a nanoMIP against B2M. Moreover, we also show that the nanoMIPs can detect senescent cells in aged mice without eliciting any apparent toxicity. Since senescent cells have recently been associated with different conditions and diseases, ranging from lung fibrosis to Alzheimer’s, cancer or ageing, we propose that these nanoparticles could be used for diagnostic and even therapeutic purposes