Programmed cell death (PCD) occurs in many pathological situations from inflammation to ischaemia. PCD is also the mechanism through which many anti-cancer therapies act.
After 20 years of PCD research it is now clear that there are several distinct PCD pathways, including apoptosis and necroptosis. These two forms of PCD are initiated by the formation of large protein complexes: the apoptosome induces apoptosis and the necrosome induces necroptosis.
As these protein complexes determine cell fate, blocking complex formation in diseases where cell death is unwanted or inducing complex formation in diseases where cell death is desirable could be a valuable therapeutic approach.
The absence of assays of complex formation that are suitable for drug-discovery limits progress in this area. This project will build the required assays and to identify new “first-in-class” pharmacological agents for the treatment of important diseases.