As well as a variety of ‘internal’ meetings in Swindon (including the monthly meeting of RCUK Chief Executives), I attended (and presented for the Research Councils) at the latest meeting of the E-Infrastructure Leadership Council. Because the RCs collectively cover all of intellectual space, we all have interests in different aspects of e-science, and this group provides an excellent forum for discussing these.
The term ‘pharmacokinetics’ describes what happens to a drug when it meets a target organism (typically the human body), and it is an immensely important part of modern pharmacology (since it determines, for instance, how to set the right dose to achieve a particular level of drug in say the plasma). Modelling is an important part of PK, and although, sadly, the communities rarely converge, modern PK bears many similarities to Systems Biology (or Systems Pharmacology). Pharmacokinetics UK – PKUK – is a grouping of individuals with an interest in this subject and I much enjoyed taking part in a debate at their annual meeting on the extent to which small molecule drugs ‘hitchhike’ on transporters that normally exist to move intermediary metabolites around. The other session I was able to stay for focussed on the pharmacokinetics of biologicals, that are quite different from those of small molecules, involving (for instance) the FcRn receptor and a competition with IgG. Two superb talks, from Don Mager (Buffalo) and Iain Gardner (Simcyp), set down our knowledge in the form of relevant models, that could predict well the half lives of a variety of biological including many monoclonal antibodies. [...]