Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

John Christianson, Associate Professor at NDORMS, has been awarded a £2 million Cancer Research UK Senior Cancer Research Fellowship to explore new treatments for patients with multiple myeloma.

Cancer cells are often hallmarked by stress but take advantage of intrinsic protein homeostasis mechanisms to increase their resistance to stress-induced cell death. Multiple myeloma (MM) cancer cells rely heavily on endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) to decrease the toxic levels of misfolded proteins that cause stress. Current therapeutic agents create more stress to induce MM cell death, but the robust and dynamically responsive ERAD mechanism elevates resistance to them which unwittingly supports cancer progression. The research will build on John’s previous work in proteostasis and ubiquitin biology to establish ERAD mediated by the Hrd1 ubiquitin ligase complex as a new therapeutic target in cancer. 

“This Fellowship is going to allow me to explore a new strategy for cancer intervention,” said John. “By understanding the fundamental nature of complexes responsible for protein degradation and the dynamic adaptability of quality control mechanisms, we can leverage that insight to develop compounds that impair or augment ERAD as a way to stop cancer cells from being able to grow.”

John has become a world-leader in his field researching the molecular mechanisms underpinning protein quality control in the ER, and in particular how specific substrates are identified and degraded by ER-associated ubiquitin ligases. 

Head of Department Professor Andrew Carr commented: “This exciting programme has the potential to lay the groundwork for the identification of new targets that may prove valuable for therapeutic intervention in cancer and other diseases associated with dysfunctional proteostasis, such as diabetes and neurodegeneration.”

Cancer Research UK Senior Fellowships support group leaders to further develop their own research programme and build their reputation as a world-leader in their cancer research field.

The research will start in January 2020 and run for six years.

Similar stories

Small mechanical forces in immune cells measured at unprecedented sensitivity

Kennedy Main Research

Oxford researchers have used advanced microscopy techniques to measure previously unseen forces generated by cells during an immune response; a breakthrough for mechanobiology and future advances in health and disease.

NDORMS researchers awarded for Dupuytren research

Awards Hand Kennedy Main

Three NDORMS researchers have received awards from the International Dupuytren Society, a patient organisation that brings together Dupuytren Disease patient societies from across the world.

Hope for rheumatoid arthritis patients who are non-responsive to anti-TNF

Arthritis Kennedy Main

New research published in The Lancet shows that tocilizumab is a more effective treatment than rituximab for rheumatoid arthritis patients with a poor response to anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF).

A new study maps the expression of innate immune receptors during the course of arthritis

Arthritis Kennedy Main

The research, which was a collaboration with researchers from Oxford University and Queen Mary University of London and published in Journal of Autoimmunity, looked at changes in receptors known as toll-like receptors (TLRs) in arthritis at different stages of disease.

International Women's Day

Department Main

It’s International Women's Day! This year’s theme is #Choosetochallenge. We’re celebrating some of the amazing women at NDORMS, and asking them what changes they’d like to see in medical sciences over the next 100 years.

Patients and carers invited to join new group helping to shape research and treatment of bones, muscles and joints

Main PPI

Oxford’s newest patient partner group, OPEN ARMS launches today to explore the causes, treatment and care for patients with musculoskeletal conditions. Its first three patient partners explain why they are involved and invite other members of the public to join the team.