Operations and Quality Manager, Oxford Radcliffe Biobank
After completing my BSc in Biochemistry from Imperial College, which included a year working at the EMBL labs in Heidelberg, I returned to my native France for an MSc in Differentiation, Genetics and Immunology, at the Université Claude Bernard, in Lyon. I then returned to the UK to do a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, at the University of Sheffield, working in the lab of Professor Claire Lewis. The project involved using prokaryotic transcription factors and response elements to develop an oxygen-sensitive suicide gene therapy system that might target the hypoxic and anoxic regions of tumours.
From Sheffield, I moved to the University of Oxford in 2001, joining the Gene Medicine Group, under the direction of Steve Hyde and Deborah Gill, and in collaboration with the UK Cystic Fibrosis Gene Therapy (CFGT) Consortium. During my 13 years in this group, I contributed to the development of a range of gene therapy vectors and their assessment by qPCR (titration of viral vectors, measurement of gene expression in cell culture and pre-clinical models, quantification of DNA delivery in pre-clinical and human samples), ultimately providing a number of molecular assays for a Phase II clinical trial of the first multidose non-viral gene therapy trial for CF aiming to demonstrate efficacy.
In 2014, as the CFGT Consortium research programme entered a new iteration of vector development ahead of future clinical trials, I moved to another team: The Oxford Radcliffe Biobank, then part of the same Nuffield Division of Clinical Laboratory Sciences I had been part of since my arrival in Oxford. Here I started off as Operations and Quality Manager, supporting the Biobank manager and the Data and Research Coordinator to keep the Biobank compliant with regulatory requirements, whilst providing advice on project requiring access to human samples, under ORB ethics. My role has now evolved to include broader governance of tissue collections under ORB as well as coordinating the ORB/OCHRe tissue access committee. This committee assesses research proposals and provides ethical approval for projects that fit under the ORB protocol and compliance oversight for projects with their own ethical approval. I manage a varied team, including a data manager, IT manager, clinical trial project coordinator and clinical trials administrator, a data and research coordinator (for non-clinical trial projects), and two histology technicians. By working together we support dozens of clinical trials requiring access to pathology services at the John Radcliffe Hospital and even more projects run by researchers across the University of Oxford and the OUH NHS Foundation Trust, investigating cancer as well as other conditions.
Preparation for a first-in-man lentivirus trial in patients with cystic fibrosis.
Alton EWFW. et al, (2017), Thorax, 72, 137 - 147
Transgene sequences free of CG dinucleotides lead to high level, long-term expression in the lung independent of plasmid backbone design.
Bazzani RP. et al, (2016), Biomaterials, 93, 20 - 26
A Phase I/IIa Safety and Efficacy Study of Nebulized Liposome-mediated Gene Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis Supports a Multidose Trial.
Alton EWFW. et al, (2015), Am j respir crit care med, 192, 1389 - 1392
PRODUCTION OF SIV.F/HN: A NEW LENTIVIRUS VECTOR FOR CF GENE THERAPY
Hyde SC. et al, (2015), Pediatric pulmonology, 50, 291 - 291
A RANDOMIZED, DOUBLE-BLIND, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED TRIAL OF REPEATED NEBULISATION OF NON-VIRAL CFTR GENE THERAPY IN PATIENTS WITH CYSTIC FIBROSIS
Alton E. et al, (2015), Pediatric pulmonology, 50, 262 - 262