Diabetes pioneer to head new £3m BRC research focus
One of the world's leading biochemical scientists has moved to
Manchester to head an innovative £3 million facility dedicated to
developing new drugs to prevent or treat diabetes, dementia, heart
disease and metabolic conditions.
Professor Garth Cooper has joined the Biomedical Research
Centre and become Professor of Discovery and Experimental
Medicine at The University of Manchester. In his new
role he is Director of the Centre for Advanced Discovery and Experimental
Therapeutics (CADET), based at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
A New Zealander, Prof Cooper discovered the hormone amylin while
studying for his doctorate in the UK. He went on to invent
amylin-replacement therapy for diabetes and founded the
NASDAQ-listed US company Amylin Pharmaceuticals. He has moved
to Manchester from the University of Auckland, where he will retain
a part-time position.
Prof Cooper's research has led to major advances in the
understanding of how diabetes and related conditions affect the
body. He has published over 200 articles in leading journals,
as well as being named as inventor on more than 40 US and European
patents. He is currently working on a drug which will remove
toxins that affect the organs of diabetes patients, allowing these
organs to regenerate and heal. The drug has received
fast-track status from the US Food and Drug Administration.
Welcoming his new colleague, BRC director Prof Graeme Black
said: "This is a hugely important appointment for
Manchester, as Garth and his team bring a combination of world
class scientific expertise and entrepreneurial skills to the
city. The ability to harness new technologies in order to
develop new treatments in the field of diabetes will be extremely
powerful and very exciting. I have no doubt that the new approaches
will have a wide benefit, not only for our patients seen locally
but also both nationally and internationally."
Centre for Advanced Discovery and Experimental
The new CADET facility houses state-of-the-art mass
spectrometry equipment for analysing tissue and blood samples
provided by patients. It was set up with a £1.5 million
capital investment by the National Institute for Health Research,
while £1.4 million of funding from the Northwest Regional
Development Agency helped to purchase additional
equipment. The Biomedical Research Centre has also funded 16
new jobs at CADET.
Researchers working with Prof Cooper will carry out large scale
studies of the proteins (proteomics) and chemical processes
(metabolomics) in tissues and blood, to help improve the way major
diseases are diagnosed and treated. CADET is believed to be
the first UK facility to combine a tissue bank, proteomics and
metabolomics laboratories all on one site. It also has a team
of bioinformatics experts who analyse all the data produced in
experiments to identify patterns and trends which could lead to new
methods of diagnosis and treatment.
"CADET is more than just a facility, it's a
different philosophy and approach to finding out what causes
diseases, how they progress in the body and how we can prevent or
treat them," said Prof Cooper. "This was the
major attraction for me in coming to Manchester, where CADET is the
link between laboratory scientists at the University and patients
on the hospital wards.
"The Biomedical Research Centre has achieved a
significant amount in only three years. It's the ideal place
to develop new approaches to predicting and preventing disease, and
also to pursue techniques to repair and regenerate organs such as
the heart, kidneys, arteries and eyes which may have been damaged
by diseases like diabetes."