The Structural Biology & Biomarkers theme focuses on understanding the molecular basis of cancer causation and progression, and seeks to discover and develop new diagnostic and therapeutic targets and agents.
Structural biology studies are focussed on clinically relevant target proteins including nuclear receptors, signalling enzymes such as kinases/phosphatases, trafficking proteins, specific markers of the tumour microenvironment, immune receptors and novel tumour-associated antigens. These studies chiefly involve NMR and X-ray crystallography technologies, as well as a wide variety of biophysical techniques, chief amongst them surface plasmon resonance.
Clinical application of this work focuses on the use of these technologies to characterise novel cancer biomarkers with potential for improved diagnosis, prognosis, or more effective patient stratification. Key areas of ongoing study include hepatocellular carcinoma, cancers of the brain and nervous system, and oesophageal and colorectal cancers, many of which are currently associated with a poor prognosis.
Structural Biology Research