The Institute of Biology of Ireland, as part of the 2017 Activity Series, invites its members, families, friends and the general public to attend this free lecture, titled “Tackling ‘The Emperor of all Maladies’; Cancer, a Journey of Discovery from Bench to Clinic“. This lecture will be presented by Professor Tracy Robson, Head of Molecular & Cellular Therapeutics, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
About the Lecture:
The lecture will focus on how a novel human protein, called FKBPL, that occurs naturally in the body, has a unique ability to inhibit tumour blood vessel development, thereby stopping tumour growth and metastasis. A therapeutic peptide-based drug derived from the protein that has been designed to harness its therapeutic effects has entered Phase I/II cancer clinical trials.
Professor Robson and her team have also acquired new data which suggests that this protein and drug also have a unique ability to target cancer stem cells; a type of tumour cell which is resistant to standard therapy. Prof Robson will summarise this ‘bench to bedside’ research, highlighting how this dual activity may be therapeutically advantageous clinically.
About the Presenter:
Professor Tracy Robson obtained her PhD in Cancer Biology from Imperial College, London. Her first academic post was as Lecturer in Radiation Science at Ulster University in 1997; she was promoted to Reader in 2001. She then moved to the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast in 2004 to take up the post of Reader in Molecular Pharmacology; she was promoted to Professor in 2010. In 2016, she took up position as Professor and Head of Department of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics at RCSI. Her major focus was the development of novel approaches for sensitizing tumours to therapy using personalised medicine approaches. She led a major programme of research aimed at the identification and functional characterisation of genes that alter tumour response to anti-cancer agents. In particular, she cloned and characterized a novel human gene, FKBPL. Her group has demonstrated an extracellular role for FKBPL as a naturally secreted, anti-angiogenic protein.
Together with Almac, she led the development of therapeutic peptide derivatives (AD-01 and ALM201) based on FKBPL’s active antiangiogenic domain. Based on the robust efficacy and excellent safety profile, ALM201, a ‘first-in-class’ FKBPL-based anti-angiogenic therapeutic peptide has completed formulation and toxicology testing and has entered phase I/II cancer clinical trials (EudraCT number: 2014-001175-31). More recently, ALM201 was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of ovarian cancer.