Unlocking the code
Professor Peter J McHugh, Supernumerary Fellow in Biochemistry, Professor of Molecular Oncology, Deputy Director, Molecular Oncology, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine and Schools Liaison Fellow, Professor Opher Gileadi (SGC) and Professor Chris Schofield (Chemistry) are working to tackle the purification, structure-activity and inhibition of the two nucleases encoded in COVID-19.
The RNA processing enzymes proteins are closely related to those encoded by SARS-CoV-1 virus, and are potential drug targets. They plan to utilise small molecule libraries available through the Oxford Target Discovery Institute to try and identify potentially useful inhibitor molecules, and will also collaborate with scientists at Diamond Light Source on this project.
Professor McHugh’s research group focuses on DNA damage and repair mechanisms, looking at how to improve cancer treatments. Many chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy treatments kill tumour cells by damaging their chromosomal DNA. There is evidence that an increased capacity to tolerate or repair the DNA damage induced by cancer therapies is an important factor in treatment failure. His group aims to understand why treatment sometimes fails, and use this information to develop new strategies for treating cancer.
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Published: 6 May 2020