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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/N020901/1
Title: Enzymatic tools for biotechnology and medicine
Principal Investigator: Neely, Dr RK
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Chemistry
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 June 2016 Ends: 31 May 2021 Value (£): 1,000,807
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Analytical Science Biological & Medicinal Chem.
Chemical Biology Chemical Synthetic Methodology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
24 Nov 2015 Healthcare Technologies Challenge Awards Interviews Panel A Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The early detection and subsequent informed treatment of disease is both a significant challenge and a significant opportunity for us to improve healthcare. Sadly, diseases like cancer put a tremendous strain on the sufferer and their families and a significant burden on our laden healthcare system. Indeed, as our population continues to age the prevalence of diseases such as cancer and the need for improved diagnostics and therapies will only increase. On the other hand, there is cause for optimism as the early detection of cancer dramatically improves the outlook for sufferers. This has been clearly demonstrated by successful screening programs for breast and ovarian cancers that have had a dramatic impact on the survival rates for sufferers.

One of the most promising tools in our battle to understand and identify cancer at an early stage comes in the form of small chemical modifications of our DNA, referred to as our epigenome. There is increasing evidence that the epigenome is both a critical indicator and influencer of the progression of cancer. These chemical modifications to genetic material change throughout our lives in response to many factors including ageing, the environment and disease. Our expanding knowledge in this area of research is driving the development of diagnostics that allow an individual's epigenome to be monitored as a predictive, prognostic and diagnostic marker of disease. However, epigenomic information is typically difficult and expensive to read-out and as a result there is a pressing need for the development of methodology that streamlines this process.

This project will develop biochemistry, analytical and state-of-the-art imaging solutions that underpin the realization of this goal. My group will prepare combinations of small molecules (cofactors) and specially selected enzymes that can be used to track and test epigenomic modifications in our cells. Our ultimate aim is to work with medical and clinical scientists to develop and apply simple tests that will improve our ability to make informed decisions about the treatment of individual patients.
Key Findings
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk