Our Pharmaceutical Research Strengths
The Medical School has strengths in many areas of research related to Pharmacy. These include “in silico” approaches to rational drug design, big data aspects of drug trials and prescription patterns, toxicology, drug delivery systems and precision medicine identifying tailored lead target drug candidates. Our research funding comes from a variety of sources including MRC, EPSRC, ESRC, CR-UK, Wellcome, EU horizon 2020. The Welsh government’s Life Science Research Network (LSRN) has also funded over a dozen Medical School projects relating to drug discovery.
In-silico Research, Health Data and Prescribing Patterns
The in-silico research includes the use of high performance computing to study docking sites for novel drug candidates. Health Informatics is one of our major research areas, attracting significant , as a UK Health Data Centre. This research is capable of studying both clinical trial feasibility and prescribing patterns at a population level. For example recent research funded by UCB Pharma aims to use the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank (SAIL) to explore the prescribing habits and drug preference for a range of chronic conditions. Further SAIL-related research includes tailoring prescription based on genomic and phenotypic parameters.
Toxicology and Drug Metabolism
We also focus considerable research around toxicology research, including drug metabolism (and potential repurposing) by cytochrome P450 enzymes, DNA damage research looking at screening novel drug candidates for red flags to prevent late stage attrition and nanosafety research aimed at developing novel tools for studying toxicological aspects of nanomedicines. A recent Horizon 2020 success (PATROLS) aims to develop novel 3D tissue models for nanomedicine toxicology.
The Centre for NanoHealth and Tailored Drug Delivery
The Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) is a collaborative venture between Colleges of Engineering, Science and the Medical School to enhance healthcare delivery. Several projects ongoing in CNH are looking at nanoencapsulation of drugs, transdermal delivery systems and the use of drug conjugates for tailored delivery to target tissues. European and Welsh Government funding (CALIN, and Smart expertise respectively) are looking at tailoring drug design to individual patient needs around drug conjugates and exosomes.
Many of our research groups are researching aspects of precision medicine, either by looking at the genomics of disease (and hence tailored therapies) or biomarker research identifying novel drug targets in specific disease types.
The Medical School is home to the Joint Clinical Research Facility, a “First in Human” clinical trials unit, which facilitates drug trial research in conjunction with local Health Boards and pharma. The trials design services and links to NHS governance helping promote these activities.
Finally, our Mass Spectrometry facilities are aimed at small molecule identification and quantification (EPSRC centre) or larger biomolecules for neurodegenerative disease drug identification.