Kick Start award in collaboration with Professor Graeme Murray, University of Aberdeen, with focus on the discovery of colorectal cancer biomarkers and the validation of antibodies towards them for use as prognostic agents.


The project targeted retinoic acid metabolising enzymes. Retinoic acid is a metabolite of vitamin A and is essential for normal cell growth. Monoclonal antibodies were developed to individual retinoic acid metabolizing enzymes to profile their expression in colorectal cancer and to assess their clinical usefulness as probes by screening a high quality tissue microarray using the ACCRI-BANK (Aberdeen colorectal cancer research initiative–BANK, this colorectal cancer tissue bank is incorporated into the Grampian Biorepository). The study has generated exciting data, specifically the discovery of potential prognostic markers. The key finding is that Cytochrome P450 26B1 (CYP26B1) is considerably overexpressed in colorectal cancer and that CYP26B1 is associated with poor outcome, thus demonstrating a prognostic potential. The development of new prognostic biomarkers is likely to improve the survival rates for colorectal cancer patients. Furthermore, CYP26B1 may represent a novel drug target for this type of tumour.

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