Technology to identify genes
Posted on 03/05/2011
King’s researchers in the Division of Cancer Studies have developed new technology for the identification and validation of microRNA (miRNA) targets in research, resulting in an exclusive licence agreement with Sigma Life Science announced today.
Patented by King’s Business, this technology is now being developed by Sigma Life Science into a kit ready for commercialisation.
miRNAs function as critical regulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells, with over 1,000 different miRNAs in the human genome already known to play multiple roles in gene regulation. Although the specific targets of most miRNAs are largely unknown, aberrant expression of miRNAs has been implicated in numerous disease states, making them important targets for clinical research in oncology, wound healing and infectious disease.
Currently, identification of miRNA targets is laborious and inefficient, relying on computer algorithms and subsequent validation by in vitro assays. To overcome this research bottleneck, scientists in the Division of Cancer Studies at King’s have developed a technology allowing simple, accurate identification and validation of miRNA targets.
Dr Joop Gaken, lead King’s researcher of this project, explained: 'The role of miRNAs in cancer is well established, and several miRNAs clearly function as either oncogenes or tumor suppressor genes, although the target genes are unknown in the majority of cases. This new test will enable the straightforward identification of target genes that are strongly regulated by a given miRNA, helping to elucidate important gene regulation events in vivo.'
'miRNA research is a rapidly growing field, and this test will be an invaluable asset to commercial and academic researchers working with miRNAs,' commented Steven Suchyta at Sigma Life Sciences. 'The exclusive license agreement has allowed Sigma Life Science and King’s College London to work closely together to ensure rapid development of this technology for the benefit of the research community, and underlines our commitment to accelerating scientific discovery through innovative technology.'
Dr Mike Shaw, Director of Commercial Development in King’s Business commented: 'We are delighted to see this innovative technology commercialised by a leading life science company. The licence agreement has enabled close working between King’s and Sigma Life Science to take the technology efficiently through further development steps. We are excited about the opportunity for our technology to appear as a product for the research community in the relatively near future.'
Notes to Editors
King’s Business connects innovators to the wealth of knowledge and expertise at King’s College London. The team develops partnerships and commercial opportunities with business, industry and the public sector across a wide range of disciplines. The result is real-world application for King’s research and innovation, producing long-term public benefit and impact.
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11' and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,500 students (of whom more than 9,000 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 6,000 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit:
Sigma Life Science
Sigma Life Science is a Sigma-Aldrich business that represents the Company’s leadership in innovative biological products and services for the global life science market and offers an array of biologically-rich products and reagents that researchers use in scientific investigation. Product areas include biomolecules, genomics and functional genomics, cells and cell-based assays, transgenics, protein assays, stem cell research, epigenetics and custom services/oligonucleotides. Sigma Life Science also provides an extensive range critical bioessentials like biochemicals, antibiotics, buffers, carbohydrates, enzymes, forensic tools, hematology and histology, nucleotides, amino acids and their derivatives, and cell culture media.
For further information please contact Emma Reynolds, Press Officer at King’s College London, on 0207 848 4334 or email email@example.com