Italian-born Mauro Ferrari, who studied medicine in the US and advised the US National Cancer Institute, is to be the next president of the European Research Council, an EU body that funds investigator-driven scientific research. Professor Ferrari will take up his position on 1 January 2020. He is known within the science community for his expertise in leveraging nanotechnology to treat and diagnose cancer.
Research & University News
Cambridge Innovation Capital Plc is leading an investment group that includes Genentech to provide seed capital to promising life science and healthcare companies in the UK and elsewhere. The seed capital will be issued by a new business accelerator called Start Codon located in Cambridge, UK.
The European Parliament has given its backing to Horizon Europe, a multi-year research programme for the sciences with a proposed budget of €100 billion. The programme is scheduled to run from 2021 to 2027, succeeding Horizon 2020.
A new research collaboration which will study the human microbiome as a source for potential cancer therapies is being undertaken by Enterome SA of France and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, US. The partners will explore whether bacteria in the human microbiome generate antigens which are similar to those found on certain tumours. To the extent that there is a molecular similarity, these bacterial antigens could be used for immunotherapies.
The European Commission is to allocate more than €2 billion for the final two years of an experimental programme intended to nurture entrepreneurs and start-up companies across Europe.
A study of circadian rhythms in human fat have shown that fat cells have their own internal clocks which affect critical metabolic functions. This goes some way towards explaining how a misalignment of these rhythms with each other and the environment can contribute to obesity and poor health, according to a research group from the University of Surrey, UK.
Cellular senescence, or the process by which normal cells stop dividing in response to stress or damage to their DNA, can be both beneficial and harmful. It can be beneficial in assisting wound-healing and preventing the excessive growth seen in cancers. On the other hand, it can drive ageing and age-related diseases by changing the tissue environment. This happens when the senescent cells trigger a cascade of chemical signals that cause inflammation and damage to local cells and tissue.
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) has launched a call for proposals from the scientific community to help it create a large chemogenomics library for drug discovery, access to which would be unrestricted.
A team of scientists at the VIB research institute and KU Leuven in Belgium has discovered that an amyloid-beta precursor protein, APP, modulates neuronal signal transmission by binding to a specific receptor called GABABR1a. This has implications for treating Alzheimer’s disease and probably other disorders.
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have identified mechanisms by which mutations in the ATM gene can lead to cancer drug resistance and how this can be counteracted by changes in other genes. The findings, reported on 8 January 2019 in Nature Communications, show how cells respond to DNA damage as well as highlight potential therapeutic targets for the genetic disease, ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T).