Sussex University will be carrying out an important skin cancer research project after its Chemistry Department’s Spencer Lab received a £428K grant from “The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council” (EPSRC). The research will be on PHIP(2), a protein found in large amounts in melanoma.

The Research

The Chemistry Department’s Spencer Lab at Sussex University has been offered a £428,000 grant by the “Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council” (EPSRC) to fund an important skin cancer research project.

The focus of the research is of a molecule named PHIP(2), a protein found in large quantities in melanoma. Melanoma is a malignant form of skin cancer, one of the forms of cancer, which appear to be rising globally. It is usually treated surgically, however, long-term patient survival is usually poor and most clinical treatments usually turn out to be ineffective or too aggressive.

The researchers which will be working on the project are Frank von Delft and Paul Brennan at Oxford University’s Structural Genomics Consortium. The research will aim to target drugs at PHIP(2) in order to stop the progression of the cancer.

The research will allow scientists to discover the exact role of the protein in melanoma development as well as other particularly aggressive cancer types.

Comments On The Project

John Spencer, a Sussex University professor, commented on this, saying: “If we are to understand melanoma better it is crucial we work to find out why this protein is present in high amounts of this type of skin cancer.

“This new project work stems from earlier grant funding from Worldwide Cancer Research where we found a new use from molecules that we’d initially made to target another cancer protein called p53.

“It pays to recycle molecules as it takes a lot of effort to make them so finding another, unexpected application is rewarding.”

California Pacific’s Medical Center scientist, David Semir, will also be working on the project. Semir is an expert on the PHIP(2) protein and will be helping to exploit the results so that they become widely available for all cancer researchers. This would help speed up the scientific progress in the topic all over the world.

Bio-Techne’s product management director, Rob Felix, also commented on this, saying: “After many years of successful collaboration, Tocris Bioscience are delighted to now have the opportunity to work with the Spencer group on a project to develop truly novel and innovative chemical probes for cancer research.”


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