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Tackling Respiratory Disease

18 August 2010

Nick Tomkinson from the School of Chemistry has been awarded £1.6M from the EPSRC with additional support of up to £1.3M from GlaxoSmithKline to develop selective molecular tool compounds for use in the discovery of innovative molecular targets for respiratory disease. Three post-doctoral chemists will be funded for four years and they will work in collaboration with Tim Willson, an expert in Nuclear Receptor science, and other scientists from GlaxoSmithKline, spending time in both Cardiff and in the GSK Respiratory research laboratories in Stevenage, U.K. 

Humans are rhythmic beings, with daily sleep/wake cycles affecting almost every aspect of physiology and behaviour. In harmony with the natural day/night cycle, our internal clock regulates when we sleep, when we eat, and when we are active. Disruption of this clock has been linked to numerous chronic disease states, metabolic disorders and ageing, suggesting a profound impact on human health. The possibility of influencing the biological clock using small molecules represents an exciting opportunity for the development of new medicines.

Tackling respiratory disease.

Within this fully integrated drug discovery programme we hope to establish the receptors REV‑ERBa and RORa as innovative targets for respiratory disease through the development of high quality chemical probes. The probes will be used specifically to understand clock-protein regulation in respiratory disease, allowing for fundamental biology, pharmacology and target validation. In addition, a full understanding of the roles of these receptors in circadian biology could provide targets for other chronic disease states of interest including rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic disease, neurological disease and cancer, helping to establish pioneering drug therapies of the future.