At the Cancer and Ageing Research Program, we believe that cancer is part of the normal
human ageing process. At its very core the ageing process is about the increasing fragility of our DNA.
As we age our DNA becomes more susceptible to damage but has an increased inability to
repair itself correctly. This unrepaired damage to your DNA allows your genes to change which
then allows diseases such as cancer, dementia or arthritis to develop.
The CARP team has identified proteins that are linked to both cancer and ageing. Our research team initially identified a key DNA repair protein and it is thought to function in the detection and repair of DNA damage and is essential for cellular viability.
This protein is increased in all cancers that we have studied including breast, pancreatic, lung and colorectal cancers. When we block this protein in cancer cells during experiments, the cancer cells die.
Remarkably, this same protein is also linked to other proteins that are important in ageing. In very
exciting early experiments, we have been able to change the activity of some of these proteins that
may delay the ageing process and the onset of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and arthritis.
The CARP team are currently working towards fully understanding how this protein functions in cancer
and ageing and are developing new drugs to target its function. Our aim is to bring one of these
drugs into the clinic to treat patients within the next three years.