Current research into cancer biology
Cell Motility Laboratory at the LRI
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Saving lives through our research
From uncovering the genetic mistakes behind cancer to investigating how the disease spreads, our researchers are working hard to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Below are some examples of what our researchers are doing right now.
Our current researchers
Tackling hard to treat tumours
Dr Simona Parrinello in London researches how healthy nerve cells are made. Now, with Cancer Research UK funding, she is applying her expertise to brain tumours. In particular, she’s looking at glioblastoma which has cells that can develop like healthy brain cells. She hopes to shed light on how glioblastoma develops and spreads, and why sometimes treatment stops working.
Stopping cancer's corruption
Professor Tim Underwood in Southampton is studying how cancer cells ‘hijack’ neighbouring healthy cells to help them grow. In particular, he wants to understand how genetic changes in cancer cells help them do this. The work could identify potential targets for new treatments that block this process and stop cancer cells from growing.
Uncovering genetic mistakes
Professor Adele Fielding in London is using state-of-the-art techniques to uncover the key genetic mistakes that are present when adults are diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The main goal of her work is to uncover the key genetic mistakes present in adults with ALL, compared to children with ALL. By doing this, she hopes to understand why adults respond differently to treatment.
Running the TRACERx study
Professor Charles Swanton, Cancer Research UK’s Chief Clinician, is aiming to improve outcomes for people with lung cancer. He is running the TRACERx study, one of the largest ever genetic studies of lung cancer patients. This pioneering project aims to follow around 850 people with non-small-cell lung cancer to study how their cancers change over time and why sometimes, treatment stops working.
Leading a cancer Dream Team
Professor Gerard Evan in Cambridge is leading an international Pancreatic Cancer Dream Team, co-funded by Cancer Research UK, Stand Up To Cancer and the US Lustgarten Foundation. The Dream Team aims to map ‘super-enhancer hotspots’, control centres in our genes that pancreatic tumours may use to hijack normal wound healing processes. Their discoveries will feed directly into trials of new treatments, some of which are already available for testing in clinical trials.