Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Cancer drug scientist cycling to help raise research funds

For immediate use

Top cancer drug scientist cycling to help raise research funds

Media Release

University of Auckland

11th November 2013

Top cancer drug scientist cycling to help raise research funds

A scientist who has spent more than 40 years successfully developing anti-cancer drugs is about to face one of his biggest challenges when he cycles 200 kilometres to raise funds for cancer research next weekend.

He is a member of the ‘Drug Runners’ team taking part in the epic two day cycling journey, organised by the Ride to Conquer Cancer that is fundraising for the Auckland Cancer Society.

Distinguished Professor Bill Denny from the University of Auckland’s Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC) took up cycling again for the first time since he was a youngster especially for this ride and is training up to 60 kilometres a day.

This would be a huge challenge for most people, and no less for Professor Denny who is the oldest member of the team, but ready to give it a go.

“I’m intending to complete the 200km, but I’m sure the last 40km will be the hardest part ... I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he says.

Professor Denny leads the medicinal chemistry group at the ACSRC, (one of the world’s most productive academic cancer drug development groups), and has just received news of an internationally important award for his research that has had a ‘significant influence on medicinal chemistry’.

He is the first non-American recipient in more than 30 years, of the biennial Medicinal Chemistry Award, made by the world’s largest scientific society, the American Chemical Society. The award will be presented in May next year.

Professor Denny has authored more than 630 peer reviewed scientific papers and 80-odd published patents on medicinal chemistry and drug design, and has been closely involved in bringing more than 12 new anti-cancer drugs through the initial clinical trials and on to commercial testing.

During his time at the ACSRC, Professor Denny has been involved in the development of 11 cancer drugs to clinical trial. He notes that for every compound that reaches clinical trial, there are about ten others that don’t achieve this level of testing. And of those that do make it to clinical testing, only one in ten is likely to be finally effective.

“We develop a concept and invent a drug compound from scratch, and then develop screening systems to evaluate the new compound,” says Professor Denny. “The compound then undergoes clinical trials that determine whether there are any safety issues or side effects and establishes a safe maximum dose. From there it goes to stage two which is when a company takes the drug further for final testing, and if successful - patents and licensing permissions.”

Each new project is partnered with a commercial organisation – whether it is a UniServices start-up company or a big pharmaceutical or biotech company.

“The hallmark of our work here is that it is a multi-disciplinary collaboration. We have great engagement with industry because a lot of the drug development pathway takes place outside the lab, such as scaling up production and the clinical testing,” he says. “We can’t do all of that process in New Zealand, but we are increasing our ability to do all of the stage one testing in New Zealand.”

“Where a business is constrained by the restrictions that they have as a company, we [in ACSRC] have a much longer time to focus and also to take more risks than a company can,” says Professor Denny. “That’s a very important attribute of academic drug development, creating novel compounds from academic collaborations.”

“The highlight for me is that point when I have an idea for an effective drug and develop it into a compound, and find that it works in the fantastically complicated system of a mammalian model,” says Professor Denny. “It’s amazing that it can work within the complexity of a living system and be able to intervene in precisely the way that you envisage. When it does work out like that it’s both exciting and reassuring that you were not off-track.”

Meanwhile, Professor Denny is on-track with his training and will be out on his bike this week, doing his bit to raise funds for cancer research. He’s fit from weekly running, but is expecting this epic 200 kilometre ride will be a serious test.

“Surprisingly I found it easy to get back on the bike again with no problems. You don’t forget how to ride a bike. The only thing was this bike has 27 gears where my old bike just had the one gear,” he says.

Proceeds from the ride will ensure the sustainability of the ACSRC team’s work as they continue to develop new drugs that will directly impact the lives of thousands of people going through cancer treatment.

The full team list for the ACSRC Drug Runners includes captains Mark McKeage and Mark Grant, plus Marjan Askarian-Amiri, Bruce Baguley, Kendall Carlin, Emma Deeks, Bill Denny, Chris Guise, Daniel McManaway, Sarah McManaway, Adam Patterson, Shevan Silva, Jeff Smaill, Petr Tomek, Georgia Wilson, Ian Wilson, and William Wilson.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news