Their work could directly lead to the development of drug therapies to halt these diseases at the very earliest stages of diagnosis.
The team is led by Dr Bing Hu, Associate Professor in Oral and Dental Health Research at University of Plymouth's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. The project will last for three years and has received funding of almost half a million pounds.
Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) is a fundamental cellular mechanism that controls growth and development by aligning cells and tissues.
Scientists know that a defect in PCP contributes to many human diseases, and that changes in PCP are often the earliest ‘cellular events’ that lead to conditions such as cancer.
Little is understood about the mechanism behind these changes and the role of PCP genes. If scientists can discover how the mechanism works, the way may be open for the development of drug therapies to treat PCP-related diseases.
Using the funding from the BBSRC the research team from Plymouth aims to advance knowledge about the mechanism and screen chemical compounds which may be developed into effective drug therapies.
The research will also help to better understand why some people with one kind of PCP-related disease are more susceptible to other kinds of diseases, particularly cancer.