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New research could aid development of cancer treatments
According to the authors, this discovery advances the understanding of mitochondrion-to-nucleus communication and intracellular signalling.

RVC-led study analyses cancer cells in humans and animals

A recent study that found a new interaction within cells has opened the door for new potential treatments of neurological conditions in humans and animals such as cancer and neurodegeneration.

The study was led by Professor Michelangelo Campanella, chair in Pharmacology and head of the Mitochondrial Cell Biology and Pharmacology Research Unit at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

Researchers analysed breast cancer cells of varying levels of aggressiveness from humans, dogs and cats. According to the study, the evolution of the breast cancer in these three species meant that their susceptibility to chemotherapy was found to be associated with the amount of contact sites between mitochondria and nuclei.

The study used multiple molecular pharmacology protocols to control the interaction between mitochondria and nuclei, as well as florescent imaging to map the interaction and transmission electron microscopy to picture the ultrastructure of Nucleus-Associated Mitochondria (NAM).

According to the authors, this discovery advances the understanding of mitochondrion-to-nucleus communication and intracellular signalling. Suggesting that this interaction inside cells can be targeted and controlled, allowing for new enhanced strategies for fighting diseases.

Professor Campanella said: “This study is the first of its kind to unveil the association between the mitochondrion and nucleus to be a regulated process and can be used to identify how this interplay can be pharmacologically controlled.

“The impact of this discovery is likely bigger than the advanced comprehension of mammalian cells physiology and pathology, embracing aspects of evolution. The co-existence of distinct DNAs is just partially understood and how genes from the mitochondria are transferred to genomic DNA is completely unknown.

“Our research group has now started investigating the molecular determinants of membrane tethering at NAM and the involvement of these inter-organellar communication in several disease models.

"This is truly ground-breaking as it will allow us to develop ways of correcting mitochondrial signalling in pathological conditions including cancer and neurodegeneration.”

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VMG president joins House of Lords

News Story 1
 Miles Russell, president of the Veterinary Management Group (VMG), has been elected to the House of Lords as a crossbench hereditary peer.

He will join Lord Trees as a representative of the veterinary sector in the second chamber of the UK parliament.

Lord Russell said: "Those of us working in the animal health and veterinary sectors are only too aware of the importance of the work we do and the challenges we face.

"I will use my platform in the House of Lords to increase understanding of our sectors and to promote positive change." 

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Duchess of York stars in charity calendar

The National Foundation for Retired Service Animals (NFRSA) has released its charity calendar for 2024, featuring Sarah, Duchess of York and a selection of the retired service animals the charity supports.

The 12 images were taken by animal photographer Gerry Slade and include retired police dogs and horses, a former border force detector dog, and a retired fire investigation and urban search and rescue dog.

Sarah, Duchess of York, who is a patron of the charity, appears alongside retired police dog Jessie in the photograph for December.

So far this year, the charity has given more than 40,000 in grants to help former service animals with their veterinary care. After retirement, they receive no financial support from the Government and obtaining affordable insurance can be difficult.