An interdisciplinary health science project is to be launched on Clostridium botulinum toxin, the most potent biological substance known
The School of Chemistry is proud to announce a collaborative project with IPSEN Biopharm, Wrexham-based industrial site of the IPSEN Group. Dr C Gwenin with the support of Dr T Caspari has obtained a Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS) award for a PhD studentship. The funding for the project was obtained from a major European Convergence programme led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales with the financial support of the UK affiliate of the IPSEN Group.
The interdisciplinary health science project centres on a novel assay for botulinum toxin which is produced naturally by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Botulinum toxin is the most potent biological substance known, causing a fatal neuroparalytic condition known as botulism by blocking the transmission of impulses at neuromuscular junctions. The project has been made possible via the set up of a category 2 laboratory within the School of Chemistry, ensuring the toxin can be handled with no risk.
Botulism is a rare but potentially fatal infection caused by the neurotoxins (poisons) that are produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium.
However, when purified and used in tiny, controlled doses, the toxin is used medically to relax excessive muscle contractions. This gives botulinum neurotoxins a key use in humans for the treatment of neuromuscular disorders e.g. Cerebral Palsy in children.
The only method currently approved by the authorities around the world to test botulinum toxin is the LD50 potency assay. IPSEN has an intensive programme to replace this assay in place, and the work to be carried out by this PhD project is intended to provide an alternative method which will satisfy the world’s authorities, and also develop a talented student.
School of Chemistry, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK
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