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The use of transcription factors (as drug targets) in current clinical use.
University of Alberta
Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Dr. Neal Davies
Type of Research Project
- Basic science
What is the background of the project?
This short-term project will involve a comprehensive literature search protocol aimed to find out, exactly, how many drugs used in clinical practice were designed to target transcription factors, excluding all other protein targets such as enzymes, membrane receptors and ion channels. This background literature research done on current drugs targeting transcription factors will be used to develop drugs that offer promising treatment to cancer. My research group is involved in a long-term research program aimed to use an oncogenic transcription factor (FOXM1) as a promising drug target. The utility of using transcription factors as drug targets allows suppression of cancer genes that lead to uncontrolled proliferation and presents itself as a promising treatment option for cancer. We are hoping to apply the past literature research performed on transcription factors into our current research involving the oncogenic gene and evaluating the clinical results by activating and inhibiting the gene.
What is the aim of the project?
We want to evaluate (a) if the medical literature clearly describes transcription factors as drug targets, and (b) the relative success rate of transcriptions factors in current clinical practice, regardless of the medical use. The results obtained at the end of this investigation will provide us with essential data needed to determine the relative success rate of transcription factors in medicine, compared to other (better known) protein targets.
What techniques and methods are used?
The student(s) involved in this investigation will be responsible for conducting a systematic literature search looking for both, commercial drugs currently used in medicine, and investigational new drugs in clinical trials, targeting any transcription factor, for any indication. It is likely that medicine students will interact with pharmacy students to outline the general search approach and database selection (PubMed, DrugBank). A full-time librarian will also be available to support and guide the systematic search.
What is the role of the student?
- The student will observe the practical experiments but will be highly involved in the analysis of the results
- The tasks of the student will be performed on his/her own
- The tasks will be done under supervision
What are the tasks expected to be accomplished by the student?
Systematic literature search; round table discussions with pharmacy students, Principle Investigator, a librarian, and preparation of peer-reviewed paper (initial draft), describing the main results of the investigation.
Will there be any theoretical teaching provided (preliminary readings, lectures, courses, seminars etc)
What is expected from the student at the end of the research exchange? What will be the general outcome of the student?
- The student will prepare a scientific report - The student’s name will be mentioned in a future publication - The student will have the opportunity to present the results together with the supervisor at a conference
What skills are required of the student? Is there any special knowledge or a certain level of studies needed?
Students with previous experience conducting systematic literature search will be given preference, but if the student has no experience on this, a short online course will be available. Previous experience with systematic literature search needed.
Are there any legal limitations in the student’s involvement
Type of students accepted
This project accepts: - Medical students - Graduated students (less than 6 months) - Pre-Medical students from the American-British system
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