Our molecular biology resources have been significantly enhanced by the appointment of viral biology and gene transfection specialists - Professor Stephen Dilworth, Dr Colin Casimir and Dr Christopher Ring (also from GlaxoSmithKline) and the development of a dedicated viral induced cancer laboratory. Research in this area has focussed on developing understanding of the fundamental biology underlying cancer initiation by viruses, and the application of this knowledge to tumours of non-viral origin.
Professor Dilworth's group has been world leading in the study of the oncogenes encoded by small DNA viruses for over 25 years. Recently, it has been discovered that assembly of a membrane nano-cluster is a novel requirement for oncogenic signalling by the middle T-antigen of polyoma virus. This has been shown to also be an essential component of signalling by most tyrosine kinase associated growth factor receptors.
Drs Casimir and Ring have been investigating how viruses can be used in novel therapeutics through the development of new viral based vectors based on viral pseudo particles that contain therapy DNA but no viral genes, and can be targeted to specific cell types.