What we do
This page describes what we do for the general public and also includes information about public engagement and upcoming events.
What is CADET?
CADET is the Centre for Advanced Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics. We are a joint venture between The University of Manchester and the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT). We are located on the CMFT site on Oxford Road, Manchester, UK.
We are dedicated to developing new drugs to prevent and treat major diseases that affect the UK’s population, such as diabetes, heart disease and dementia.
What does CADET do?
Our research is focused on working out how disease develops. We use state-of-the-art technologies to understand more about the processes that cause disease, and how we can design new medicines to stop this happening. Our experiments also help us to identify biomarkers. Biomarkers are substances in the body that can be used to predict disease risk, help with diagnosis or support a doctor in guiding treatment.
How do we make new discoveries?
Scientists in CADET perform many different types of experiment, but we normally start by using mass spectrometry (see video below). We look at blood, urine and tissue samples, kindly donated by patients, and see how they differ compared to healthy volunteers.
Essentially, what we do is to separate out many different substances from each sample and measure them by determining their accurate weight (or mass). These substances may be proteins (known as ‘proteomics’) or small molecules such as sugars, vitamins and fats (known as ‘metabolomics’). Finally, we have a mass spectrometer that allows us to determine the amounts of various elements in our samples, including trace metals such as iron, magnesium and copper.
We then compare the patterns in diseased versus healthy patients to identify differences, which could act as biomarkers or as targets for new medicines.
These patterns can be complex, and so the comparison is done with the help of dedicated computer software in our laboratory, or with new software which is being developed by our bioinformatics collaborator at the University of Liverpool.
At CADET, we are one of the very few labs in the country that perform proteomics, metabolomics and elemental analysis under the same roof. This integration gives us and our collaborators a great environment in which to learn more about disease and tackle the development of new medicines.
See also Richard Unwin's Manchester Minute Microlectures To catch a killer? Put it down a mass spec!'
How does a new medicine get to patients?
Once a potential new medicine has been shown to work in the laboratory, it enters a clinical trial. This is where patients volunteer to be treated with the new medicine and their response is compared to that of patients on existing treatments, or a placebo. This is the only way we can show that a new medicine really does work, before it can be given to all patients as part of routine care.
If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial or would like more information, please see the UK Clinical Trials Gateway at www.ukctg.nihr.ac.uk or speak to your healthcare professional. You can read more about what CADET does in the area of drug development and clinical trials.
How can I find out more?
CADET scientists routinely attend public events such as the Manchester Science Spectacular, and have run a study day for local A-level students on diabetes in collaboration with Manchester Museum. For more information about research at the University, you can go to Public Engagement at Manchester site, or see the University's news pages. Some of CADET's scientists are also STEM ambassadors.
The animations on this page were funded by a Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) award (097820) to The University of Manchester. They are free to be used under a creative commons agreement and can be embedded on web pages or used at public events.