Dr Oliver Maddocks
- Senior Research Fellow (Experimental Therapeutics)
Oliver D. K. Maddocks is a Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Research Fellow and Group Leader at The University of Glasgow Institute of Cancer Sciences. Dr. Maddocks received a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) degree from Cardiff University in 2003, and subsequently completed clinical training in the NHS. After a brief period as a clinical pharmacist Dr. Maddocks undertook a PhD at The University of Edinburgh Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, investigating to role of pathogenic bacteria in colorectal cancer carcinogenesis. In 2008 Dr. Maddocks was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake a post-doctoral position at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, USA. On returning to the UK in 2010 Dr. Maddocks joined the lab of Prof. Karen Vousden as a post-doc at the CRUK Beatson Institute, working on cancer metabolism. In 2015 Dr. Maddocks was awarded a CRUK Career Development Fellowship to start his own cancer metabolism lab at the University of Glasgow. Dr. Maddocks was recipient of the 2016 British Association for Cancer Research AstraZeneca/Frank Rose Young Scientist Prize for his contribution to cancer research.
How do cancer cells obtain and utilise nutrients, and how they deal with waste / by-product metabolites?
The growth & proliferation of cancer cells is fundamentally dependent on metabolic processes, and tumours frequently display altered metabolism compared with healthy tissues. To sustain enhanced growth, cancer cells become highly dependent on the uptake of exogenous nutrients, particularly amino acids. Additionally, by-products of up-regulated metabolic pathways must be released to maintain favourable metabolite concentration gradients and avoid toxicity. Metabolic processes can also underpin the close interaction between tumour cells and surrounding cancer-associated stromal cells.
While cancer related metabolic adaptations can fuel tumour growth they can also provide clinical opportunities:
- Limiting the supply of exogenous nutrients to cancer cells, either by modulating their dietary availability or import, has the potential to both impede tumour growth and to sensitise tumours to conventional treatment.
- Understanding the specific pathways cancer cells use to utilise nutrients and exchange metabolites with host cells could offer novel therapeutic targets.
- Altered tumour metabolism causes systemic metabolic alterations (detectable in biological samples such as blood and urine) that could be used to improve cancer diagnosis and clinical decision-making.
We use liquid-chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS) analysis to conduct targeted and un-targeted metabolomics to better understand how tumours take up, use and release metabolites.
ATTENTION FOR OUR WORK
CRUK 2017 Patient's Pick
BACR-AstraZeneca-Frank Rose Award
Modulating the therapeutic response of tumours to dietary serine and glycine starvation. Maddocks, O. D.K. et al. (2017) Nature, 544(7650), pp. 372-376. www.nature.com/articles/nature22056
Serine metabolism supports the methionine cycle and DNA/RNA methylation through de novo ATP synthesis in cancer cells. Maddocks, O. D.K. et al. (2016) Molecular Cell, 61(2), pp. 210-221. www.cell.com/molecular-cell/fulltext/S1097-2765(15)00970-3
Grants and Awards listed are those received whilst working with the University of Glasgow.
- Targeting Tumour Metabolism for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis
Cancer Research UK
2018 - 2021
- Metabolic drivers of pancreatic cancer cell migration and metastasis
Medical Research Council
2018 - 2020
- Targeting Tumour Metabolism for Cancer Therapy and Diagnosis.
Cancer Research UK
2015 - 2018