News

The NPSC male contraceptive programme featured in MIT Technology Review

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NPSC's phenotypic screening platform is at the heart of efforts to develop a male pill.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have pledged $600,000 towards finding novel approaches to male birth control, which has been awarded to several laboratories worldwide. Different approches are being used to address the challenge, including genetic approaches to identify genes that might be good contraceptive targets, induced pluripotent stem cell approaches to find a better human model for male-contraceptive drug screening, and phenotypic approaches to identify agents that act on sperm function and fertility. NPSC is contributing to this this effort with high throughput biology and novel multiparametric phenotypic screening methods. High content imaging technology will be used to track sperm movement and to capture the “acrosome reaction,” when sperm shed a cap-like structure before penetrating an egg. A drug able to immobilize sperm, or block that reaction, could be a starting point for an effective contraceptive.

Link to full article in MIT Technology Review

2017 03 03 MITreview

 

Scottish Seminar Series - come and find out about our open calls for proposals

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Thursday 8th December 2016 - 13.00 to 14.00
University of Glasgow - Wolfson Medical School
Gannochy Lecture Theatre, Room 248 Wolfson Medical School Building,University Place, Gilmorehill Campus, Glasgow G12 8QQ

Thursday 8th December 2016 - 15.00 to 16.00
University of Glasgow - Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre
Seminar Room, Wolfson Wohl Cancer Research Centre, Garscube Estate, Switchback Road, Bearsden, G61 1QH

Friday 9th December 2016 - 12.00 to 13.00
University of Aberdeen - Level 5 conference room - Institute for Medical Sciences (IMS), Forrester Hill Campus, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD

We are looking for biologists and clinicians with phenotypic assays or assay-concepts, that are interested in translating their research. We offer the opportunity to get these assays screened to industry standards against best-in-class small molecule compound libraries. In this seminar we will present the opportunities for assay development and phenotypic screening that are available at NPSC.

NPSC is a world-class facility for phenotypic screening run by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers who collaborate to advance the use of complex biology and to drive innovation. NPSC was set up to complement the activities of the target-based screening centres, taking a more holistic approach to understanding disease at the cellular and tissue level. Focused on using “high-content” image-based approaches to hit discovery, initial emphasis will be on tackling complex, multi-faceted diseases, employing the most physiologically relevant assays possible.
Screens are performed using high quality compound collections to generate either new understanding of disease pathology and toolbox reagents for further academic use, or validated chemical start points for pre-clinical drug development. Phenotypic assay development will take place as a joint effort between the NPSC and the academic lab or clinician, thereby bridging the gap between early stage data and an industry-standard assay.

In addition to being accessible via existing funding routes, the NPSC has established the Phenomics Discovery Initiative (PDi), a public-private partnership between industrial pharmaceutical companies and NPSC. PDi seeks to identify, develop, screen and validate innovative phenotypic assays that are relevant to human disease. PDi phenotypic assays are recruited from proposals made by academics, clinicians and SMEs. Selected proposals are screened free of charge.

Phenotypic screening embraces the complexity of organisms, tissues and cells in order to identify bioactive agents such as small molecules and antibodies. Rather than being focused on biochemical assays on an isolated target molecule, it relies on a more holistic and empirical approach often using live cell assay systems. When integrated early in the drug discovery process, phenotypic screening hits can progress faster as they already act in the correct context, improving success rates for lead selection/optimization, and reducing failure in phase II and III due to poor safety and low efficacy.

University of Dundee Receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant For Groundbreaking Research in Global Health and Development

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Dundee, 15th November 2016---The University of Dundee announced today that it is a Grand Challenges Explorations winner, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The project will enable a unique collaboration bringing together expertise at Dundee in male fertility and drug discovery to help identify possible new male contraceptive drugs.

NPSC's Director of Operations joins Axol Bioscience's Scientific Advisory Board.

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Axol Biosciences Ltd, the Cambridge-based biotechnology company specialising in the use of stem cell technology to manufacture disease relevant cell based assay systems for the drug discovery industry, recently announced the appointment of Dr. Paul Andrews, NPSC's Director of Operations to their Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Paul's appointment follows on from NPSC's ongoing collaborations to use Axol's neural progenitor cells for drug discovery. The other members of the SAB are Chris Torrance (Horizon Discovery), Steve Rees (AstraZeneca), Chas Bountra (SGC/University of Oxford) and Darren Disly (Horizon Discovery Group)

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NPSC is a facility run and operated by the Universities of Dundee, Edinburgh and Oxford, which are registered UK-based charities. 

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