We are delighted to announce our speakers line-up for the Innovation Forum 2016 conference. Follow us to keep up to date as we introduce our eminent speakers.
Steve Jackson FRS, FMedSci is University of Cambridge Professor of Biology, Head of Cancer Research UK Laboratories at the Gurdon Institute, and Associate Faculty member at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Steve’s pioneering academic research has provided us with many of the key principles by which cells respond to and repair DNA damage. He identified many DNA-damage-response (DDR) proteins, established how they function, and helped define how their dysfunction yields cancer and other diseases. Steve has been elected to EMBO, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal Society, and he has received various prizes, including most recently the Gagna and Van Heck Prize 2015, the King Faisal International Prize for Science 2016 and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Medicine. Steve’s publications have collectively been cited >54,000 times (h-index 117; Google Scholar).
Recognizing that many DDR proteins represent attractive drug targets, in 1997 Steve founded and then scientifically led (he was part-time Chief Scientific Officer, 1997-2009) the company, KuDOS Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by AstraZeneca in 2006. Four KuDOS compounds are now in clinical trials, the most advanced being the PARP inhibitor olaparib/LynparzaTM, which Steve and colleagues showed exhibits striking cytotoxicity towards cancer cells mutated in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Ensuing clinical studies with olaparib established a new cancer therapy paradigm, wherein a cancer cell’s genetic deficiency (such as loss of BRCA1 or BRCA2 function) is exploited pharmacologically through a mechanism termed “synthetic-lethality”, resulting in cancer cell killing with only mild effects on the patient’s normal cells. Olaparib/Lynparza recently received FDA and EMA approval for ovarian cancer with associated BRCA1/2 mutations and is now marketed in over 40 countries. Olaparib is also in late-phase clinical trials for various other cancers.
In 2010, Steve co-founded the company MISSION Therapeutics to exploit new therapeutic opportunities arising from his work on protein ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation. He currently serves as a director and part-time MISSION Chief Scientific Officer. While Steve’s academic laboratory has strong scientific links to MISSION, it is supported almost entirely by peer-reviewed grant funding.