NIMR research featured in MRC Annual Review 2011-12

03 October 2012

The work of three NIMR research groups is featured in the latest MRC Annual Review: Advancing medicine, changing lives.

The latest MRC Annual Review gives an insight into MRC scientists’ research achievements from the past year. The review, covering 2011-12, focuses on the impact that MRC-funded science makes on health, the economy and society. It features the work of Robin Lovell-Badge, from NIMR's Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics, Ian Taylor and Steve Gamblin, both from the Division of Molecular Structure.

Boosting brain repair

Robin Lovell-Badge led research that showed a protein produced by blood vessels in the brain could be used to help the brain to repair itself after conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and dementia. The protein, called betacellulin (BTC), was found to boost brain regeneration in mice by stimulating brain stem cells to multiply and form new nerve cells (neurons). See page 9 of the MRC Annual Review for more.

A spanner in the works for HIV?

Ian Taylor collaborated with scientists at the University of Manchester to figure out how a protein called SAMDH1 is able to prevent HIV from replicating inside a group of immune system cells called myeloid cells. The researchers discovered that SAMHD1 is able to degrade one of the key building blocks needed for making new copies of the virus: deoxyribonucleotides. This opens up the possibility of creating new drugs – or perhaps even a vaccine - which imitate this biological process and stop the virus from replicating inside myeloid cells. See page 14 of the MRC Annual Review for more.

Towards a universal flu vaccine

Steve Gamblin led research in collaboration with colleagues in Switzerland and found an antibody called FI6 which can bind to and inactivate all known types of the influenza A virus – the most common culprit behind flu in humans and animals. The antibody targets a region of the virus that does not readily mutate, suggesting that that region could be used to create a long-lasting universal vaccine. See page 14 of the MRC Annual Review for more.

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