University of Cambridge - Articles and news items

Antibiotic-resistant ‘superbug’ bacteria found at NHS-funded factories

Industry news / 19 October 2016 / Niamh Louise Marriott, Digital Content Producer

Out of 34 sites tested, 16 were found to be harbouring bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to the report. Resistance to three major antibiotics…

Major global study reveals new hypertension and blood pressure genes

Industry news / 13 September 2016 / Niamh Louise Marriott, Digital Content Producer

The discoveries include DNA changes in three rare genes that have much larger effects on blood pressure in the population than previously seen, providing new insights into the physiology of hypertension and suggesting new targets for treatment…

Double-blind clinical trials fail to capture how personal behaviours influence treatment

Industry news / 11 June 2015 / Victoria White

Trials fail to measure how a drug’s performance can vary based on patient behaviour, especially if patients change habits in anticipation of treatment…

Early Biopotency Signals demonstrated in Sanfilippo Type A Gene Therapy Trial, provides Abeona Therapeutics

Genetic screening could improve breast cancer prevention

Industry news / 9 April 2015 / Victoria White

Genetic screening could improve doctors’ ability to work out which women are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, a major study has shown…


AstraZeneca collaborates with Cambridge medical research institutions to advance cancer research

Industry news, News / 9 July 2013 / AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca enters agreement with University of Cambridge & Cancer Research UK…


Scientists identify molecular trigger for Alzheimer’s disease

Industry news, News / 20 May 2013 / University of Cambridge

New research establishes nature of malfunction in protein molecules that can lead to onset of dementia…

Applications of MRI to controlled drug delivery devices

Issue 5 2012, Magnetic Resonance Imaging / 22 October 2012 / Mick Mantle, Department of Chemical Engineering & Biotechnology, University of Cambridge

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a technique that is traditionally used as a diagnostic clinical imaging tool. However, there are now an increasing number of non-medial applications where MRI has seen unrivalled success. One of those areas is in its application to pharmaceutical research. The aim of this article is to briefly outline the quantitative nature of MRI and how it has been used recently to quantify dissolution phenomena in controlled drug delivery tablets under pharmacopeial conditions.

In modern pharmacotherapy, the effectiveness of a therapeutic treatment does not rely solely on the efficacy of the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), but is also dependent upon a suitable dosage form or drug delivery device being available. In many ways, it is the drug delivery device itself that ensures the active drug is available at the site of action for the correct time and duration with appropriate drug concentration1. Drug delivery systems can be broadly divided into two categories according to their mechanisms of drug release: immediate release and modified release. Immediate release dosage forms, such as traditional painkillers, are relatively simple systems and are designed to release APIs instantaneously, i.e. when a fast therapeutic action is required. Modified release dosage forms, which are generally more suited to disease treatment, are generally designed to provide targeted / tailored drug release characteristics and a detailed knowledge of the spatio-temporal behaviour of the API is extremely important.

drug discovery & drug development

The need for proteomic-based biomarkers in the drug development pipeline

Issue 3 2012, Proteomics / 10 July 2012 / Paul C. Guest, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge and Sabine Bahn Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge & Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus Medical Centre

Pharmaceutical companies are under increasing pressure to improve their efficiency and returns on drug discovery projects. This is a daunting task considering that the average drug costs approximately one billion US dollars to develop and takes around 12 years from initial discovery to reach the market1. In addition, approximately 70 per cent of drugs fail to recover their research and development costs and around 90 per cent fail to provide a satisfactory return on investment. Therefore, minimising risk is one of the most important aims in pharmaceutical discovery programs today.

There are now efforts to establish standard operating procedures to navigate through these problems and, at the same time, meet the regulatory demands. To facilitate this process, the regulatory health authorities have encour aged the incorporation of biomarkers into the drug discovery pipeline and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for efforts to modernise and standardise approaches for the delivery of more effective and safer drugs2.

Proteomics is the most applicable tech – nology for implementing biomarker app – roaches in drug discovery given that virtually all existing drug targets are proteins3. Proteomics is a systems approach for the global study of protein expression changes4.

Professor Christopher Dobson

Cambridge-Elan Centre for Research Innovation and Drug Discovery launched

Industry news, News / 28 November 2011 / F T I Consulting

World’s leading researchers work together on therapeutic advances in neuroscience…

The expanding world of small RNA: from germ cells to cancer

Issue 5 2007, Past issues / 21 September 2007 / Eric A. Miska, The Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Over the last ten years a small RNA revolution has swept biology. In 1998 RNA interference (RNAi) was discovered as an experimental tool by Andy Fire and Craig Mello, a finding that was awarded with the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Although the biology of RNAi is still not understood, it has become a powerful experimental tool and is currently being developed for human gene therapy. During a similar time-frame and linked in some aspects to RNAi, microRNAs (miRNAs) were discovered as a new class of regulatory RNAs in animals, plants and viruses.

The future of process design

Issue 2 2005, Past issues / 20 May 2005 / Salvatore Mascia, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cambridge

Rheology – not to be confused with theology – represents an important and distinctive area of modern engineering science: the ability to specify and control a material’s rheology and associated microstructures is a key aspect of many process and product innovations. In the pharmaceutical sector, emulsions and the cohesive wet masses employed in extrusion processes for granulation – often called pastes – are examples of materials with complex rheological behaviour. Understanding these behaviours, being able to quantify them and then incorporating that knowledge into appropriate models will allow optimisation of steps such as process design, modelling and development, as well as improving product quality, efficiency and time of processing in manufacturing.


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