Dr Andrew Pierce

Lecturer in Medical & Health Sciences, Lecturer (Teaching & Research)

Contact info

Location: Brambell, Room 412

Email: a.pierce@bangor.ac.uk

Current Position: Lecturer, Medical and Health Sciences

Other external Positions: Honorary Lecturer, Division of Cancer Sciences, The University of Manchester

Contact Info

Location: Brambell, Room 412

Email: a.pierce@bangor.ac.uk

Current Position: Lecturer, Medical and Health Sciences

Other external Positions: Honorary Lecturer, Division of Cancer Sciences, The University of Manchester

Overview

Dr Pierce has an extensive research background in haemopoietic stem cell biology with a special interest in the myeloid leukaemias. Having undertaken a systematic analysis of leukaemogenic protein tyrosine kinases using systems biology approaches and advanced mass spectrometry techniques (iTRAQ, SILAC, SWATH, proteogenomics and phosphopeptide analysis) he identified common effectors driving multiple leukaemias. Targeting these disrupted pathways in primary patient material and in in vivo model systems he was able to demonstrate their potential as novel treatment strategies. Much of this work included repurposing drugs with the explicit aim of improving leukaemia patient outcomes. Repurposing drugs bypasses many of the hurdles present in drug development, such as toxicity and pharmacodynamic profiling markedly reducing the time and cost to advance new treatments to the clinic. His work has also shown that mRNA level changes do not correspond to protein level changes in response to oncogene expression and that modulation of the mRNA export complex, THOC, can in part explain this phenomenon. This work is presently being expanded into research on alternative splicing in cancer, both via mutation of proteins involved in RNA splicing and as a response to radiotherapy in the context of DNA damage. Using his expertise in proteomics and ability to lead multidisciplinary teams Dr Pierce has also driven research projects in cancer biomarker discovery. All of Dr Pierce’s research is ultimately aimed at improving patient outcomes.

Research

Research Impact

Developing cancer therapies that eradicate cancer stem cells and cure the disease is hugely challenging which is exemplified in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia, an advanced paradigm of cancer stem cell research. Dr Pierce has published a true ‘’bench to bedside’’ study (Nature, 2016. PMID: 27281222) where a proteomic screen of primary leukaemic progenitor cells led to the identification of a potential cure for chronic myeloid leukaemia which entered a phase 2 clinical trial (CRUK/17/016 TASTER). Similar approaches have led to the identification of potential treatments for Polycythemia vera (Leukemia, 2017. PMID: 28533538), Juvenile Myelomonocytic leukemia (JPR, 2020. PMID: 31657576), and Chronic Myeloid leukemia (PlosOne, 2022. PMID: 35358275). A further study (Hemasphere 2019. PMID: 31723838) reporting the potential of repurposing the drug BGB324 for the treatment of myeloproliferative neoplasms prompted the company developing the drug, in clinical trial for several solid tumours, to investigate its potential in in vivo models of myeloproliferative neoplasm (Hemasphere, 2021. PMID: 34396051). This study concluded that BGB324 warrants clinical investigation for the treatment of MPN.

Endometrial cancer is the most common gynaecological malignancy in high-income countries and the sixth most common cancer in women worldwide. Early detection is key to ensuring good clinical outcomes and a non-invasive detection tool would transform patient care.  Dr Pierce has published research (Cancers, 2021. PMID: 34359700 PMID: 33578729) which has identified potential biomarkers in urine and plasma that are undergoing validation as a patient friendly endometrial cancer detection test.

Other

Contributions to the Scientific community

Dr Pierce regularly reviews grant applications for international funding bodies and manuscripts for a wide range of internationally renowned journals such as EMBO, Blood, Molecular Cellular Proteomics and Oncogene. He has also served as external Ph.D. examiner. Dr Pierce has collaborated widely both nationally and internationally having published research manuscripts with groups from amongst others Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Hanover, Frieberg, Houston and New York.

Grant Awards and Projects

GRANTS AWARDED

2020-2023    Fanconi Hope (92K). Investigations into Proton Beam Therapy in Fanconi Anaemia (CoI).

2019-2022    Bloodwise (£300K). Eradication of the leukaemic clone in myeloproliferative neoplasms (PI).

2019-2021    FRGS, MASTIC (35K). The antileukemic activity and mechanisms of action of Lignosus rhinocerotis (CoI).

2013-2018    Leukaemia Lymphoma Research (£1.8M). Application of advanced protein technologies to identify common treatment targets for myeloid leukaemias (CoI).

2016-2016    ISSF Strategic Awards in Precision Medicine (£15K). Developing a plasma-based biomarker for the early identification and stratification of Alzheimer’s disease (CoI).

2016-2016    BloodWise summer studentship (1.5K). CD45 in myeloproliferative neoplasms (PI).

2015-2017    Manchester Royal Infirmary MD studentship (£268K). Assessment of abnormal signal pathway activation in acute myeloid leukaemia characterised by FLT3/ITD: application to treatment design and monitoring (CoI).

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching

Programme lead for Genomics and Precision Medicine MSc.

Module coordinator for MSE-4080, Bioinformatics and Genomic data.

Module coordinator for MSE-4081, Omics Techniques and Technologies.

Module coordinator for MSE-4083, Genomics and Cancer.

Supervision

Supervision of PhD, MSc and MRes students.

Other roles

External and internal viva voce examiner

Personal

Work Biography

Previous Positions

2005 – 2022            Research Fellow, Stem Cell and Leukaemia Proteomics Laboratories University of Manchester

1998 - 2005             Research Fellow, Cellular Development Unit, UMIST

1992 - 1998             Research Associate, Cellular Development Unit, UMIST

 

Education

1989 - 1992            PhD: The cloning and sequencing of plasma membrane Heparan Sulphate Proteoglycans. Paterson Institute for Cancer Research, Manchester.

Projects (1)

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