Development of a large scale integrated platform for clinical proteomics and drug target discovery
Professor Tony Whetton is Director of the Stoller Centre for Biomarker Discovery and also the Manchester Precision Medicine Institute. He is also principal investigator of the Bloodwise Mass Spectrometry programme based at the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre, Christie Hospital.
Tony joined the School of Medicine at Manchester University in 2003 as Professor of Cancer Cell Biology, based at the Christie Hospital. Here he established a state of the art biological mass spectrometry facility for stem cell and cancer research. This platform has been extended into biomarker research for precision medicine in recent years.
In his leukaemia research Tony is currently systematically defining the downstream proteomic and phosphoproteomic effects of the protein tyrosine kinases associated with myeloproliferative disorders and myeloid leukaemias to discover common mechanisms for leukaemic transformation and thus new drug targets. This has lead to a new approach to extinguish chronic myeloid leukaemia stem cells. He has built a new £3 million laboratory to house the Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre which has £25 million of funding to date and opened in June 2016. As Director of the Manchester Precision Medicine Institute Tony Whetton leads on enabling University of Manchester researchers, clinicians and industry to work together for improving clinical outcomes.
Precision medicine is a key objective in improving healthcare, thus enhancing the speed and throughput for companion diagnostic, target and biomarker discovery is essential. The use of innovations in MS-based technologies offers a high capacity throughput proteomic profiling for clinical biochemistry purposes that can be industrialised, as has been achieved at the Stoller Biomarker Discovery Centre. For example, markers of risk in ovarian cancer have been investigated using a SWATH MS approach. We have also identified potential new curative strategies for chronic myeloid leukaemia and polycythaemia vera. Combined with validation platforms, this approach offers a quicker route to mechanistic detail/drug targets plus biomarkers for risk and stratification. Linkage of proteomic data to electronic health records through safe haven health informatics allows the integration of complex molecular phenotyping with endotypic data. By scaling up proteomics platforms and adding pathology expertise, we reduce the time for biomarker development for patient benefit.