02 Dec 2009

Award-winning chemistry professor begins UK tour at The Open University

Stem cells

Stem cells

The winner of the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Centenary Lectureship, Professor John Katzenellenbogen, chose The Open University to begin his UK lecture tour today.

Professor Katzenellenbogen, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA spoke on the ability to diagnose and treat cancer when you can "see" it. This can be done by designing molecules that are attracted to, and can stick to, important hormone receptors in cancerous cells. The researcher can then use medical imaging techniques to detect these receptors, and so understand what hormones might be driving the cancerous cells. This imaging can also help in selecting what therapy for breast or prostate cancer might best be tailored to each individual with the disease.

Professor Jim Iley, Head of Chemistry and Analytical Sciences at The Open University, said: ‘We are delighted to have such an internationally renowned and award winning chemist begin his RSC Centenary Lecture tour here. It is providing a fantastic opportunity to bring together academics and students from across the Science Faculty – chemists, physicists and life scientists – to discuss how basic research can have a direct impact on the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.’

Professor Katzenellenbogen said: ‘I am very grateful to the RSC for affording me the honor of the Centenary Lectureship and giving me an opportunity to undertake this tour. I am also very pleased by the warm welcome I have received at The Open University, my starting point for this tour, and I am impressed by what I have learned about the faculty and students at this unusual institution. Finally, I thank all those who have helped to organise my visit and to make it a pleasant experience.’

Professor Katzenellenbogen was awarded the RSC Centenary Lectureship for his creative combination of organic synthesis with biochemistry, molecular and structural biology and spectroscopic methods to address major problems in biology and medicinal chemistry.

About the lecture
Nuclear Hormone Receptors: Positron Emission Tomographic Imaging of Estrogen and Androgen Receptors and Receptor Function in Breast and Prostate Cancer. Following an introduction to the role of hormone receptors in breast and prostate cancer, the presentation will focus on the design and development of high affinity ligands labelled with short lived radionuclides for in vivo imaging of receptors in cancer. It will include results from studies in cancer patients, as well as thoughts about how in vivo imaging can best serve cancer patients.

Professor Katzenellenbogen will continue his tour of the UK at the universities of Nottingham, Leeds, York, St Andrews and Southampton.


For further information
Gemma Bessant 01908 655596,

Notes to editors
Professor Katzenellenbogen is available for interview.

About The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the United Kingdom's largest university and the world leader in distance education. More than two million people have studied with the OU since it began in 1969. The OU has more than 229,000 students in over 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs. 2009 is the 40th anniversary year of The Open University.

Independent authorities have consistently ranked the OU in the top five UK universities for teaching quality and virtually all of the University’s research areas have received ratings of national or international excellence. OU students are more impressed with the quality of their courses and the support received than those at any other UK university, based on the findings of the National Student Survey. The OU has been at the top of the rankings every year since the survey began in 2005.

About the Royal Society of Chemistry
The Royal Society of Chemistry is the UK Professional Body for chemical scientists and an international Learned Society for the chemical sciences with some 46,000 members worldwide. It is a major international publisher of chemical information, supports the teaching of chemical sciences at all levels and is a leader in bringing science to the public.

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