CRT-DL collaboration recognised by Industry award

Research involving scientists from UCL and CRT Discovery Labs (CRT-DL), which identified EGFR inhibition as a potential treatment for the rare spinal cancer chordoma, has been recognised for its role in advancing patient treatment.

In 2014 Dr Adrienne Flanagan and her team from UCL Cancer Institute teamed up with CRT-DL, researchers from GlaxoSmithKline, and academic researchers from Austria and Germany, with a goal to test over 1,000 compounds against seven chordoma cell lines.

GlaxoSmithKline helped supply many of the compounds, the Chordoma Foundation supplied cell lines, and Flanagan and her team worked with fellow researchers in CRT-DL to identify which compounds most effectively stopped chordoma cells from growing.

This team effort, including Fabrice Turlais and Michelle Barnard from CRT-DL, led to the discovery that many compounds effectively killed chordoma cells. The compounds that were most effective worked by shutting down a protein called EGFR, which regulates cell growth, and, when switched on, causes cancer cells to grow and multiply uncontrollably.

The group published their findings in the Journal of Pathology earlier this year and, thanks to their discovery, a new clinical trial testing Afatinib, a second-generation EGFR inhibitor, in chordoma patients is in discussion.

Adrienne Flanagan and colleagues were recognised by the Chordoma foundation for their remarkable contribution to advancing patient treatment and were awarded the ‘Uncommon Collaboration Award’

“Collaboration has proven to be both fruitful and professionally satisfying, the field is starting to see the payoff from working together, and together we’re starting to have a real impact in terms of embarking on new treatments from which patients should benefit,” Dr Adrienne flannagan says.

Read paper here