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The revolutionary thing about Pioneer Awards is that applicants can come from any discipline - from medicine to aeronautics - and be at any stage in their career. The only requirement is that their proposal has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of cancer patients. If successful, the innovator receives a grant of us to £200,000 to explore their fresh solution for cancer.
A bubbly drink that could treat cancer
We're all used to being told that fizzy drinks are bad for our health, but Professor Eleanor Stride is working on a bubbly drink in the lab and if it's successful it could one day help people cancer. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to treat, so this research could be the first step towards improving the outlook for patients.
We know that as tumours grow they become short of oxygen, causing cancer cells tgo adapt, making them more resistant to treatments such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
Professor Stride looked at the problem from a different angle. She wondered whether simply drinking specifically engineered oxygen bubbles could deliver oxygen to the heart of a tumour, without harmful side effects.
Now Professor Stride and her team at Oxford University are using their Pioneer Award to develop and test the effectiveness of their bubble theory. They are targeting pancreatic cacner first as these tumours are badly starved of oxygen and notoriously hard to treat. If it works, there is the potential to roll the approach out to other types of cancer too and save many more lives.