A cancer research team from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences was part of a collaboration resulting in the discovery of a key driver of cancer cell development. The discovery, which gives researchers a new target for drug therapies, was published in the journal Nature.
The study was led by researchers at UNC Chapel Hill and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Five UAMS researchers, making up the IDeA National Resource for Quantitative Proteomics, are co-authors on the Nature publication. The team serves as a research “national resource.”
These proteomics researchers at UAMS, led by Alan Tackett, Ph.D., use powerful computing tools to help make sense of enormous amounts of biological data, according to a press release. This includes creating functional maps of cells and other techniques that lead to better understanding of the molecular pathways in cancer and other diseases. UAMS has 15 uniquely trained researchers who specialize in solving challenging scientific problems such as the one presented by UNC.
The UAMS proteomics team represents the only such National Institutes of Health (NIH) national resource in the United States. It was established last year by Tackett, who secured a five-year, $10.6 million grant to serve biomedical researchers across the country. Tackett is a professor in the College of Medicine Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and deputy director for the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute. Other UAMS faculty who were key in establishing this National Resource and are co-authors on the study are Stephanie Byrum, Ph.D., Rick Edmondson, Ph.D., Samuel Mackintosh, Ph.D., and Aaron Storey, Ph.D.
Since it launched in August 2020, the national resource at UAMS has processed hundreds of service requests from more than 100 research labs across the country. It has supported research projects funded by grants of more than $22 million.
In addition, having national resource at UAMS is expected to help its cancer institute achieve prestigious National Cancer Institute (NCI) Designation.