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Arrow Success Stories.

About LightOx

LightOx is a Newcastle-based company that develops new treatments for cancer. The company is developing fluorescent compounds for use as novel light-activated therapeutics.

LightOx has identified a lead compound for development as a treatment for early-stage oral cancer. It is also currently investigating applications in other disease areas.

LightOx’s technology has a wide utility as a tool for scientific research. It currently distributes several multi-functional probe compounds through Merck (Sigma-Aldrich).

What did Arrow provide?

Newcastle University’s Arrow programme matches North East SMEs with University experts who can provide the knowledge and expertise to help the company innovate.

Arrow established a collaboration between LightOx, Dr Rebecca Hanna (an Arrow innovation associate) and Dr Simon Whitehall (a Newcastle University academic).

Dr Simon Whitehall is a Senior Lecturer at the Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University. He was chosen for this project because of his expertise in fungal cell biology and his research using yeast as a model. Simon provided yeast strains and guidance on the study design, alongside use of lab space, instruments, and reagents.

Dr Rebecca Hanna has a background in molecular biology, including assay design, working with biological samples and extensive laboratory research techniques.

As the Arrow associate, Rebecca was responsible for:

  • Designing the project plan, with guidance from the academic and the company
  • Performing the lab experiments
  • Data analysis and presentation
  • Coordinating the collaboration between the academic and the company representative

The Arrow project generated very interesting data which has opened new lines of investigation and suggested some potential areas for future collaboration.

“Working with Arrow allowed us to research a topic we wouldn’t have been able to spare the resources for internally. The work was done very well and produced results worth following up on. We would recommend Arrow to others.”

Ryan Waite, Research Scientist at LightOx

What were the outcomes of the Arrow project?

This was the first project that showed that the LightOx compounds worked on some yeast strains, including a pathogenic one.

Out of the compounds assayed, a promising candidate was able to significantly reduce the growth of two yeast species. When imaged, the compound stained many different compartments of one species, both internally and on the membrane.

The work has shown promise, but more work needs to be done. Moving forward, Simon will use the compounds in student projects to investigate the mechanism of action in yeast, and how the compounds can be used as a research tool. He will share his findings with the company and collaborate with Ryan Waite at LightOx who works on bacteria.

"This was an excellent opportunity to use our expertise in fungal cell biology for translational research. The project generated some very interesting data and opened new lines of investigation with some potential areas for future collaboration."

Simon Whitehall, Newcastle University