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Funding and Impact - III


The BRC's III theme made the following awards in March 2018:

Dr Timothy Bray, Dr Coziana Ciurtin – Quantitative Imaging Biomarkers of Skeletal Inflammation: Biological Validation and Response Prediction.

Prof Jeremy Brown – Functional consequences of B cell depletion therapy on adaptive immunity to Streptococcus pneumoniae

Dr Siobhan Burns, Dr Steven Henson – Functional modelling of novel STAT1 variants amenable to gene editing

Dr Coziana Ciurtin, Dr Liz Jury – Endotyping systemic lupus erythematosus and Sjogren's syndrome in adult a, adolescent and paediatric populations for precision medicine therapeutic approaches - The NUANCE study.

Dr Ines Pineda-Torra, Dr Liz Jury, Prof Anisur Rahman and Dr Reecha Sofat – Interferon regulation of lipid metabolism in autoimmunity: towards patient stratification and identification of novel targets for cardiovascular risk in SLE

Prof Joanna Porter – Neutrophil activation as a biomarker and therapeutic target in interstitial lung disease

Dr Laura Shallcross – Precision prescribing for clinical infection syndromes (PRECISE)

Dr Reecha Sofat – Determining the clinical utility of measuring complement factor H


The theme made the following awards in February 2019:
Mr Harley Buck, Prof Emma Morris – Defining the transcriptional profile of limbal epithelial stem cells by RNA sequencing analysis

Prof Emma Morris, Dr Rachel Brown – Understanding T cell immunity in anti-NMDAR encephalitis: Developing therapeutic tools for neurological autoimmunity.

Prof Rachel Chambers, Dr Manuela Plate, Dr Robert Hynds – Establishing a robust scientific rationale for progressing ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitors as a novel anti-fibrotic strategy in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Dr Vincent Muczynski, Prof Amit Nathwani – A next generation bispecific antibody with an “off-switch” for a controlled treatment of haemophilia A

Dr Alastair O'Brien – Repurposing of Simvastatin As An Immune-Restorative Therapy In Advanced Liver Disease

Dr Venkat Reddy – Understanding the Mechanisms of Refractory Systemic Lupus Erythematosus to Stratify Patients for Novel B-cell Targeted Therapies

Prof Margaret Hall-Craggs, Dr Alan Bainbridge, Dr Timothy Bray – Optimisation of a multiparametric, quantitative MRI tool for assessment of bone and joint health in inflammatory disease.

Prof Mike Ehrenstein, Prof Richard Jenner, Prof Javier Herrero – Anti-TNF as a molecular scalpel to understand and exploit regulatory T cells for therapy in rheumatoid arthritis

Prof Sergio Quezada, Dr Paul Mulholland – Mapping the Immune Landscape To Develop Novel Therapies for Glioblastoma

Prof Richard Jenner, Richard Angell, Dr Sally Oxenford – Target identification for a novel therapeutic agent for inflammatory bowel disease

Prof Stephen Pereira, Dr Douglas Thorburn, Dr Pilar Acedo-Nunez, Dr John Timms, Prof Massimo Pinzani – Enhanced liver fibrosis and cholangiocarcinoma in primary sclerosing cholangitis (ELF-CCA-PSC study)

Prof Ronjon Chakraverty – A Human Cell Atlas of Graft-versus-Host-Disease

Dr Reza Motallebzadeh – Integrating immunological, metabolite and microbiome data to predict clinical outcomes in kidney transplantation

Dr Fausto Andreola, Prof Rajiv Jalan and Dr Gautam Mehta – Glucocorticoid receptor: A novel biomarker and therapeutic target in acute alcoholic hepatitis

Prof Krista Rombouts – Identification and validation of targets for novel therapies in PNPLA3 SNP - variant primary Human Hepatic Stellate cells in liver disease

Impact on healthcare

The formation of Catapult Therapy TCR Ltd by a university/biotech partnership has enabled researchers to bridge the ‘translational gap’ between science and therapeutic innovation. The result was last year the first patient was treated in a phase I/II trial of a novel T-cell therapy targeting disorders associated with overexpression of WT-1 antigen, such as acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. The treatment was devised by Professor Hans Stauss while at Imperial College, and subsequently developed at UCL in collaboration with Dr Emma Morris.

The biopharmaceutical spin out company Autolus has been formed to develop and commercialise engineered T-cells for cancer immunotherapy. Founded on work by Dr Martin Pule, Autolus will develop next-generation engineered CAR T-cell products for treatment of both haematological and solid cancers. Initial clinical trials of CAR T-cells in B-cell malignancies, suggest that this approach may transform treatments of patients, many of whom have no other therapeutic options.

The BioAid project is a cross- BRC collaboration with Imperial and Kings which aims to create a registry of 5-10k adults presenting with infectious disease, and link clinical phenotype and microbiological data to host DNA, RNA and plasma biobanking. By evaluating the usefulness of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis, the aim is to identify and validate novel biomarkers for clinical use within the next five years.

Dr Andrew Williams and Professor Rachel Chambers have set up a laboratory within Stevenage BioScience Catalyst. Their project “Targeting CCL7 in acute lung injury”, which is one of three BRC funded projects to go into the open innovation campus, aims to develop a novel therapeutic monoclonal antibody to treat inflammatory lung disease. Based at Stevenage, the investigators have been able to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and enter a partnership with industry for the development of monoclonal antibodies with the desired therapeutic properties.