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Professor Mohamed El-Tanani

PositionProfessor of Molecular Pathology and Cancer Therapeutics
Location1.13 ICT building
DepartmentInstitute of Cancer Therapeutics
Telephone+44 (0) 1274 235367
EmailM.El-Tanani@bradford.ac.uk
LinkedInVisit my LinkedIn profile

Research Interests (key words only)

Cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, Cancer Metastasis, Cancer Stem Cells, Cancer Biomarker, Cancer Therapeutics, Drug Resistance, Drug Discovery

PhD Supervision

Supervised and co-supervised more than 20 MSc, MD and PhD students.

Teaching and Supervisory Responsibilities

Previously taught undergraduate and postgraduate courses and modules.

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Deputy Director, Institute of Cancer Therapeutics
  • Director of Targeted Therapeutics and Diagnostics
  • Anniversary Chair of Molecular Pathology and Cancer Therapeutics

 

Biography

Research Track Record. Since Prof Mohamed El-Tanani was appointed as a lecturer, senior lecturer and then as a professor of Molecular Pathology and Cancer Therapeutics, he has made seminal contributions to understanding cancer metastasis - the spread of cancer from the original tumour to distant organs. Prof El-Tanani’s work has changed many research paradigms in the field, primarily focusing on metastasis, as this complex process is responsible for the majority of cancer deaths. Once cancer has spread, current treatments ultimately fail for most patients. Furthermore, metastasis can be particularly insidious as it may develop after variable and unpredictable periods of tumour dormancy. His research program strives for a better understanding of metastasis and thus has the potential to improve cancer patient survival and quality of life.

Prof El-Tanani’s work is focused on two broad areas of cancer metastasis.First, he has a major program aimed at understanding the biology of the metastatic process. This program uses animal models of metastasis, novel imaging approaches to “watch” the process, and molecular approaches to better understand how the process is regulated. Second, he has a major program focused on the secreted, integrin-binding protein osteopontin (OPN) and its target gene RanGTPase (Ran). This program has complementary experimental and clinical arms, focused on learning how OPN and Ran increase the metastatic potential of cancer cells, and on the development and uses of assays to measure OPN and Ran levels in tumours, which in turn could represent a valuable new predictive biomarker. He has shown that OPN and Ran contribute functionally to the malignant behaviour of cancer cells and that measuring OPN and Ran levels in patients may provide clinically useful information.

Prof El-Tanani’s metastasis and OPN/Ran programs have a “translational” focus aimed at producing research that will have an impact on cancer patients and improve their care. Both programs have gained international recognition, as evidenced by the number and quality of publications and invitations to present his work at national and international meetings, conferences, and seminars. Similarly, he receives numerous requests to write reviews on both subjects. He has served as Editor or Associate Editor for several international cancer journals, including the American Journal of Cancer Research, the International Journal of Oncology, and Frontier in Bioscience. He also provides numerous manuscript reviews for cancer and general science journals and participates in tenure and promotion reviews for institutions worldwide, e.g. for the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Oncology (Prof. Ann Chamber & Prof. Allan Tuck), University of Western Ontario.

The scientific understanding of the role of Ran protein as an important therapeutic target and biomarker in cancer has been developed Prof El-Tanani to the level of a platform capability. Ran protein is expressed in tumours which have high drug resistance and metastatic potential, so it is an excellent biomarker for prediction of patient drug response and survival. This is most relevant in the case of triple-negative breast cancer, where conventional therapies or prognostic biomarkers are not available. Moreover, in non-small cell lung cancer, Ran expression can indicate the emergence of drug resistance. Ran itself is a therapeutic target for treatment of cancers with drug resistant or high metastatic potential. Thus, the Ran platform encompasses both biomarker technology for use in companion diagnostics and targeted therapeutics. He has a growing portfolio of IP in this area and the various arms of the Ran platform are the subject of several grant applications.

It is also apparent that the pharmaceutical industry will benefit from an improved understanding of the mechanisms underlying Ran targets, as this could help improve the design of new drugs and identify new applications for existing agents. Therefore, disseminating results to a wide range of researchers and clinical staff is key to achieving maximum economic and societal benefit from his programme. Prof El-Tanani has previous experience of obtaining high levels of publicity for research projects

He has procedures in place for managing patient interest attracted through such interventions and publications. 

  • He has published more than 70 peer-reviewed papers, an average of 5 per year in high impact factor journals. He views publication of the results, and writing of review articles to distill thinking, as key components in mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows. (His laboratory motto is the quote from Michael Faraday “Work. Finish. Publish”). In particular, he seeks out appropriate writing opportunities for review articles by trainees, as a valuable part of their training. Bibliometric analysis reveals that work from his laboratory has high scientific impact and is frequently cited by many other researchers.  Since 2010 he has been invited to present at numerous international, national, and local conferences. 
  • Principle Investigator on several UK grants including CRUK and Wellcome Trust and FP7 (£3.5 million). Co-Investigator in many grants including SPUR award by 15.8 million from the Department of Learning and the Atlantic Philanthropies
  • Published over 50 papers in high profile journal with mean impact factor 7 and patents concerned with the discovery and development of novel biomarkers and new drugs
  • Responsible for the discovery of Ran biomarker, a tumour biomarker gene which Gold test for early detection of cancer metastasis and patient stratify for personalised medicine
  • Leads the team that is developing a Ran Biomarker now in the way to be licensed to one of the world leading diagnostic company
  • Leads the team that is developing Ran inhibitors
  • Leads the team that is developing Ran blood assay biomarker to measure Ran in blood cancers such as AML, in exosomes and in circulating tumour cells (CTC)
  • Act as Editor and senior editor for several international high profile journal

Study History

  • PhD, 1997, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Liverpool, UK
  • MPhil, 1993, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The University of Liverpool, UK
  • D’Sc. 1987, Biochemistry from University of Alexandria

Professional History

Over 20 years’ experience in clinical biochemistry and molecular oncology/pathology undertaking the molecular mechanism of malignant transformation, biomarker discovery and small molecule drug discovery and its mechanisms of action

Employed at King Khalid Hospital (Saudi Arabia) and Alexandria University Hospital as a consultant of Clinical Biochemistry and then moved to full research posts in University of Liverpool and then moved to Queen's University Belfast as a lecturer and senior lecture

Professional Activities

Training of Highly Qualified personnel

Successful supervision of a range of students with differing intellectual abilities for the MSc, PhD and MD degrees. Inspiring learners to achieve positive learning outcomes and high-quality work in learning, teaching and assessment. This has been evidenced through student satisfaction, engagement, and achievement data and peer feedback. Consistent excellent performance as a teacher has been demonstrated by very positive peer and student evaluation reports. Leadership in the development of innovative, new or revised courses which have met University objectives, including in relation to collaborative partnerships, transnational education, and widening participation, together with engagement in academic programme approval and review processes at Queen’s University, Belfast and University of Bradford.  Significant professional development activities which have included undertaking courses in leadership in administration, education and research which have helped me contribute to the professional development of others (e.g. through mentoring; peer review and/or observation etc).

Research Areas

Prof. El-Tanani group has recently identified a novel metastagene, RAN GTPase (RAN), which triggers the rapid spread of cancerous tumours via the bloodstream to other tissues in the body, where they are more difficult to control. The spread of cancer from the initial tumour is the key contributor to the death of a cancer patient. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are often the only options available to treat the resulting ‘secondary’ tumours but these procedures can damage healthy tissue and do not always succeed in eradicating the cancer. Metastagenes are fundamental to the process by which cancers spread. They are found in most common cancers, including breast, lung and colon. If these genes are over-expressed in the cancerous tumour, early death of the patient is much more likely. These studies will elucidate the role of OPN/RAN in tumour cell spread and will yield novel molecular targets for the development of novel breast cancer treatments.

Prof. El-Tanani work is focused on two broad areas of cancer metastasis.

1 - Understanding the biology of the metastatic process

This program uses differentl model of metastasis, novel-imaging approaches to “watch” the process and molecular approaches to better understand how the process is regulated.

2 - Secreted, integrin-binding protein osteopontin (OPN) and its target gene RanGTPase (Ran)

This program has complementary experimental and clinical arms, focused on learning how OPN and Ran increases metastatic ability of cancer cells, and on the development and uses of assays to measure OPN and Ran levels in cancer patients’ tumors and perhaps a valuable new predictive biomarker. He has shown that OPN and Ran contributes functionally to malignant behavior of cancer cells, and that measuring OPN and Ran levels in patient may provide information useful caring for these patients.

Prof. El-Tanani's metastasis and OPN/Ran programs have a "translational" focus-aimed at producing research that will have an impact on cancer patients and improve their care. Both programs have gained international recognition, as evidenced by the number and quality of publications and invitations to present his work at national and international meetings, conferences and seminars. Similarly, he received numerous requests to write reviews on both subjects.

He has served as Editor or Associate Editor for several international cancer journal, including American Journal of Cancer Research, International Journal of Oncology and Frontier in Bioscience. He also provides numerous manuscript reviews for cancer and general science journals. I also provide tenure and promotion reviews for institutions worldwide; in 2010 and 2011, e.g. for Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Oncology (Prof. Ann Chamber & Prof. Allan Tuck), University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 4L6, Canada.

Current Projects

  1. Ran GTPase as a potential novel therapeutic target in EMT transdifferentiation and breast cancer stem cell (BCSC) survival during metastatic development
  2. Identification of the role of Ran GTPase in regulation of c-Met receptor in promoting cell invasion/metastasis in human breast cancer
  3. RAN silencing as a novel strategy to suppress c-Met mediated resistance to gefitinib in NSCLC (Non Small Cell Lung Carcinoma)
  4. Screening for new generation of Novel Anti-Tumour/Anti-Metastatic Drugs
  5. Rational design and characterization of a RAN GTPase-specific small molecule inhibitor
  6. Interrelation of C-myc and Ran in breast cancer patients
  7. Investigate the antitumor activity by combining a lantivirus shRNA knockdown Ran with cisplatin for colorectal cancer
  8. Ran GTPase: Investigation of a master regulator of breast cancer metastasis
  9. Ran silencing as a novel strategy to overcome paclitaxel resistance in breast cancer metastases

Research Collaborations

Prof El-Tanani has an extensive network of collaborators including a consortium for Marie Curie ITN which consists of more than 30 academic and industrial EU partners.

Publications

Publications are also available via Bradford Scholars.

2017

  1. Morgan R, El-Tanani M, Hunter KD, Harrington KJ, Pandha HS. Targeting HOX/PBX dimers in cancer. Oncotarget. 2017 Mar 7. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.15971. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PubMed PMID: 28423659.

  2. Chan KK, Matchett KB, Coulter JA, Yuen HF, McCrudden CM, Zhang SD, Irwin GW, Davidson MA, Rülicke T, Schober S, Hengst L, Jaekel H, Platt-Higgins A, Rudland PS, Mills KI, Maxwell P, El-Tanani M, Lappin TR. Erythropoietin drives breast cancer progression by activation of its receptor EPOR. Oncotarget. 2017 Mar 18. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.16368. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 28418910.

  3. Haggag YA, Matchett KB, Dakir El-H, Buchanan P, Osman MA, Elgizawy SA, El-Tanani M, Faheem AM, McCarron PA. Nano-encapsulation of a novel anti-Ran-GTPase peptide for blockade of regulator of chromosome condensation 1 (RCC1) function in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. Int J Pharm. 2017 Apr 15;521(1-2):40-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpharm.2017.02.006. Epub 2017 Feb 2. PubMed PMID: 28163220.

2016

  1. Yuen HF, Chan KK, Platt-Higgins A, Dakir el-H, Matchett KB, Haggag YA, Jithesh PV, Habib T, Faheem A, Dean FA, Morgan R, Rudland PS, El-Tanani M. Ran GTPase promotes cancer progression via Met recepto-rmediated downstream signaling. Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 15;7(46):75854-75864. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.12420. PubMed PMID: 27716616; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5342783.

  2. El-Tanani M, Dakir el-H, Raynor B, Morgan R. Mechanisms of Nuclear Export in Cancer and Resistance to Chemotherapy. Cancers (Basel). 2016 Mar 14;8(3). pii:E35. doi: 10.3390/cancers8030035. Review. PubMed PMID: 26985906; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4810119.

2015

  1. Chan KK, Matchett KB, McEnhill PM, Dakir el H, McMullin MF, El-Tanani Y, Patterson L, Faheem A, Rudland PS, McCarron PA, El-Tanani M. Protein deregulation associated with breast cancer metastasis. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2015 Aug;26(4):415-23. doi: 0.1016/j.cytogfr.2015.05.002. Epub 2015 May 31. Review.PubMed PMID: 26088937.
  2. Maxwell P, Melendez-Rodríguez F, Matchett KB, Aragones J, Ben-Califa N, Jaekel, H, Hengst L, Lindner H, Bernardini A, Brockmeier U, Fandrey J, Grunert F, Oster HS, Mittelman M, El-Tanani M, Thiersch M, Schneider Gasser EM, Gassmann M, Dangoor D, Cuthbert RJ, Irvine A, Jordan A, Lappin T, Thompson J, Neumann D. Novel antibodies directed against the human erythropoietin receptor: creating a basis for clinical implementation. Br J Haematol. 2015 Feb;168(3):429-42. doi:10.1111/bjh.13133. PubMed PMID: 2528395

2008-2015

  1. Matchett KB, McFarlane S, Hamilton SE, Eltuhamy YS, Davidson MA, Murray JT, Faheem AM, El-Tanani M. Ran GTPase in nuclear envelope formation and cancer metastasis. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;773:323-51. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4899-8032-8_15. Review. PubMed PMID: 24563355
  2. Busacca S, Chacko AD, Klabatsa A, Arthur K, Sheaff M, Barbone D, Mutti L, Gunasekharan VK, Gorski JJ, El-Tanani M, Broaddus VC, Gaudino G, Fennell DA. BAK and NOXA are critical determinants of mitochondrial apoptosis induced by bortezomib in mesothelioma. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 7;8(6):e65489. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065489. PubMed Central PMCID
  3. Yuen HF, Gunasekharan VK, Chan KK, Zhang SD, Platt-Higgins A, Gately K, O'Byrne K, Fennell DA, Johnston PG, Rudland PS, El-Tanani M. RanGTPase: a candidate for Myc-mediated cancer progression. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Apr 3;105(7):475-88. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djt028. PubMed PMID: 23468463
  4. Yuen HF, Chan KK, Grills C, Murray JT, Platt-Higgins A, Eldin OS, O'Byrne K, Janne P, Fennell DA, Johnston PG, Rudland PS, El-Tanani M. Ran is a potential therapeutic target for cancer cells with molecular changes associated with activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTORC1 and Ras/MEK/ERK pathways. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Jan 15;18(2):380-91. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2035. PubMed PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3272446
  5. Yuen HF, Zhang SD, Wong AS, McCrudden CM, Huang YH, Chan KY, El-Tanani M, Khoo US. Regarding "Co-expression of SNAIL and TWIST determines prognosis in estrogen receptor-positive early breast cancer patients". Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2012 Jan;131(1):351-2. doi: 10.1007/s10549-011-1831-5. PubMed PMID: 22037786
  6. Yuen HF, McCrudden CM, Chan KK, Chan YP, Wong ML, Chan KY, Khoo US, Law S, Srivastava G, Lappin TR, Chan KW, El-Tanani M. The role of Pea3 group transcription factors in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Am J Pathol. 2011 Aug;179(2):992-1003. doi: 10.1016/j.ajpath.2011.04.004. PubMed PMID: 21689625
  7. Yuen HF, Chan YK, Grills C, McCrudden CM, Gunasekharan V, Shi Z, Wong AS, Lappin TR, Chan KW, Fennell DA, Khoo US, Johnston PG, El-Tanani M. Polyomavirus enhancer activator 3 protein promotes breast cancer metastatic progression through Snail-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition. J Pathol. 2011 May;224(1):78-89. doi: 10.1002/path.2859. PubMed PMID: 21404275
  8. Shi Z, Hodges VM, Dunlop EA, Percy MJ, Maxwell AP, El-Tanani M, Lappin TR. Erythropoietin-induced activation of the JAK2/STAT5, PI3K/Akt, and Ras/ERK pathways promotes malignant cell behavior in a modified breast cancer cell line. Mol Cancer Res. 2010 Apr;8(4):615-26. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-09-0264. PubMed PMID: 20353997
  9. El-Tanani MK, Jin D, Campbell FC, Johnston PG. Interferon-induced transmembrane 3 binds osteopontin in vitro: expressed in vivo IFITM3 reduced OPN expression. Oncogene. 2010 Feb 4;29(5):752-62. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.379. PubMed PMID: 19901966
  10. Hale KJ, Manaviazar S, Lazarides L, George J, Walters MA, Cai J, Delisser VM, Bhatia GS, Peak SA, Dalby SM, Lefranc A, Chen YN, Wood AW, Crowe P, Erwin P, El-Tanani M. Synthesis of A83586C analogs with potent anticancer and beta-catenin /TCF4/osteopontin inhibitory effects and insights into how A83586C modulates E2Fs and pRb. Org Lett. 2009 Feb 5;11(3):737-40. doi:10.1021/ol802818f. PubMed PMID: 19175352
  11. Kurisetty VV, Johnston PG, Johnston N, Erwin P, Crowe P, Fernig DG, Campbell FC, Anderson IP, Rudland PS, El-Tanani MK. RAN GTPase is an effector of the invasive/metastatic phenotype induced by osteopontin. Oncogene. 2008 Dec 4;27(57):7139-49. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.325. PubMed PMID:18794800

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