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Testing kinase inhibitors for activity against type 1 diabetes

Testing kinase inhibitors for activity against type 1 diabetes

PhD project

Small molecule kinase inhibitors have been developed as highly targeted therapies with well- understood mechanisms of action directed against patho-physiological mechanisms of disease. The goal of their development has been to increase specificity and decrease the side-effects of relatively untargeted therapies such as cancer chemotherapy or conventional immunosuppression. Development of kinase inhibitors attracts about a third of R&D spending in pharmaceutical companies, with over 150 kinase-related drug targets in development for cancer, inflammation and autoimmunity. This is a largely unexploited resource that could be applied to type 1 diabetes. It is likely that among these drugs there are those with activity against the processes that lead to beta-cell destruction in type 1 diabetes. I will test small molecule drugs that inhibit kinase activity to reverse and/or prevent type 1 diabetes in pre-clinical models. Drugs that are effective will be further characterised in mechanistic studies and have the potential to be moved into clinical trials in type 1 diabetes. This work is a collaboration with world leaders in kinase biology and pharmaceutical companies.

Supervised by:

  • A/Prof Helen Thomas
  • Disease Focus:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Research Unit:

  • Islet biology