Competitive Research Grant Profile
The IFOPA and FOP Friends® UK Fund New Research at University of Oxford
The IFOPA and FOP Friends® UK have joined together to co-fund a new study at the University of Oxford.
Alex Bullock, who established the University of Oxford FOP Research Team with Professor Jim Triffit, is optimistic that this new research technique “could lead to the development of a new class of inhibitor drug for FOP therapy.”
He went on to explain the specific research the grant will support: “We are undertaking a pilot project to develop a second generation ACVR1/ALK2 inhibitor by targeting novel allosteric sites in the ACVR1/ALK2 protein that allow for exquisite target selectivity and further improved drug safety.
“Further chemistry will eventually be used to optimize fragments into potent inhibitors that can block heterotopic ossification in FOP.
“Ultimately, we hope to find a safe and effective new treatment for the prevention of FOP.” Bullock went on to emphasize that their results will be made freely available, without restriction on use, so all researchers will be able to benefit from their work.
Bullock first learned about FOP in 2006 when the causative gene ACVR1 was discovered. Professor Triffit, who was working in the same research building at Oxford, contacted him for collaboration, since he knew Bullock was an expert in the structure and function of protein kinases. They’ve been working together ever since.
Bullock emphasized the importance of the involvement and support of the IFOPA. “The IFOPA’s efforts to support international scientific conferences, raise public awareness and conduct patient surveys are hugely beneficial to all FOP researchers.”
Chris Bedford-Gay, who worked to establish FOP Friends after meeting the inspirational Jeanie Peeper, is thrilled to be working with the IFOPA on this new research venture.
“It’s critical for FOP patients, researchers and organizations to work together to find a cure. Stimulating research and new ideas can only help us find a treatment for [my son] Oliver and all other FOP patients.”
This research grant of $26,400 was funded as part of the IFOPA’s Competitive Research Grants Program.