TGFβ inhibitors as potential treatment for acute liver injury

17th August 2018

Dr Tom Bird has published a study showing that a cancer drug is able to prevent the spread of senescence in a mouse model of acute liver injury. The drug could potentially be used as an alternative to liver transplantation for patients with sudden liver failure. The option of such a medication-based treatment instead of transplantation would improve the lives of patients and also reduce the demand for livers for transplantation.

Tom states 'While transplant offers incredible life-saving opportunities for these patients, it does mean a major operation and a lifetime of medication and with around 300 adults and children in the UK in need of a liver transplant at any one time, it cannot be guaranteed.'

The work was published in Science Translational Medicine:

TGFbeta inhibitors paper

Reference: Bird et al. TGFβ inhibition restores a regenerative response in acute liver injury by suppressing paracrine senescence. Sci Transl Med. 2018 Aug 15;10(454). pii: eaan1230. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan1230

The study was covered by numerous media outlets, including BBC News (Liver transplants 'may be unnecessary thanks to new drug treatment'), The Scotsman (New drug treatment could reduce liver transplants) and BBC Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme, Today (click image below to hear the interview). The article was also highlighted in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology  (Senescence prevents regeneration after acute liver injury).

Tom Bird Today programme Aug 2018

Beatson conference 2018

6th July 2018

Many thanks to everyone for making this year's Beatson International Cancer Conference a great success! This year's conference was 'Talk to the Niche - Understanding the Biology of the Metastatic Niche'.

Valerie Weaver
Valerie Weaver (UCSF) delivering the keynote lecture about the role of tissue stiffness in cancer progression.

Read more: Beatson conference 2018

Existing treatment could be used for 'untreatable' type of lung cancer

21st June 2018

Dr Daniel Murphy and others at the Institute have published findings in Science Translational Medicine showing that a treatment that is already approved in certain types of cancer could also be used in another type of lung cancer (KRAS-driven lung cancer) for which there is currently no specific treatment. The fact that it is already approved for use in other cancers means that it could be available for patients with KRAS-driven lung cancer much sooner than it otherwise would be.

Daniel said 'There is a pressing need to develop alternative strategies for more effective treatment of KRAS‐driven lung cancer, and this is a promising breakthrough which we hope could benefit patients soon.

'The inhibitor we studied – a multi-ERBB inhibitor – helped sensitise tumours and was of therapeutic benefit when used in combination with another cancer drug called Trametinib, resulting in a clear extension of lifespan.

'Based on our findings, we hope lung cancer patients with the KRAS-driven form of lung cancer may in future benefit from inclusion of this inhibitor in their treatment plan.'

Click here to view the article.


New research group joins the Beatson

We were delighted to welcome new senior group leader Martin Bushell and his team to the Institute this month. Martin and his group are studying the fundamental processes underlying protein synthesis in cells and how these are altered in tumours. A better understanding of how these processes work could lead to new treatments for cancer.

More details of Martin's research can be found here.

2018 L’Oréal UNESCO For Women in Science Award Winners Announced

Congratualtions to Dr Nathiya Mathalagu from the Beatson Institute who is amongst the five winners of this year's prestigious L'Oréal UNESCO For Women In Science Awards. For the past 11 years, L'Oréal UKI and UNESCO UK have awarded five Fellowships worth £15,000 each to early career researchers. The Fellowships are designed to provide flexible and practical financial support for the winners to further their research and careers and provide support to keep them in the scientific community. With the flexible grant, winners may choose to spend their fellowship on buying scientific equipment, paying for childcare costs, travel costs or indeed whatever they need to continue their research.

Nathiya seeks to understand the processes that drive tumour development and how the immune system can be harnessed for more effective anti-cancer therapy or prevention – particularly in pancreatic tumours. With a one-year old, the L'Oréal UNESCO funding will cover part of her childcare costs. Nathiya currently uses her annual leave to take one day off a week. Covering her childcare costs will increase the time she can spend in the lab and her productivity.

More details of the L'Oréal UNESCO For Women In Science international programme can be found here.

Nathiya (second from left) and her fellow awardees

FWIS Winners 2018

Institute's approach to good practice in research highlighted in Nature

At the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute we are committed to promoting good practice in research by all our researchers. This perspective article in Nature outlines the approach we have taken, which has included creating a research integrity adviser role, described in the article, as well as providing the best training, advice and support for our scientists:, "Give every paper a read for reproducibility" 


At the bench 3 160

Read more about the Research Groups working at the Beatson Institute.



Running a gel 154

Find out more about our seminars including our Distinguished Seminar Programme.