Current strategies in the development of new therapies for malignant disease are based on exploiting our increasing understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of cancer development and progression. Work in the Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Unit is aimed at identifying novel therapeutic targets from molecular pathology studies of pre-malignant and malignant tissue specimens, validating these targets through in vitro and in vivo studies, identifying and characterising the signalling pathways that are deregulated at the various stages of cancer development and progression, exploiting these pathways as potential therapeutic targets and identifying biomarkers of anti-tumour activity to specific agents that can be applied to biological samples in clinical trials. The main areas of focus are in cellular senescence and cancer cell invasion and metastasis, with a particular emphasis on gastrointestinal and endocrine tumours.
The Analytical Services Unit (ASU) was originally funded through NTRAC but is now the centrepiece of the Glasgow Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre funded by Cancer Research UK and the Chief Scientist Office. The ASU continues to support our work in translating ideas from the laboratory to the clinic. Sample acquisition, handling, processing and reporting are all performed to standards that allow us to make important decisions on the drug development pathway based on the results of these pharmacodynamic studies.