Understanding B cell receptors to help fight cancer
Professor Graham Packham.
Professor Graham Packham leads a large group of researchers at the University of Southampton whose work specialises in studying B cell cancers. Professor Packham is focussing on lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), and tiny proteins found on the surface of cancerous B cells. He and his team are examining these proteins – known as B cell receptors – which they already know play an important role in helping cancer cells grow and survive. Finding a way to block this process could be a successful way of stopping the cancer in its tracks.
The huge piece of lab-based work will centre on understanding more about the biological details of the receptors and will provide important new insights into the critical growth control pathways in B cell malignancies.
The research is likely to provide new targets for drugs and hopefully lead to more treatment options for patients whose cancer is currently incurable.
Professor Packham said: “Already we have seen been big advances in the past five years with new drugs that have improved outcomes. The hope is that we provide the groundwork for taking a new drug into the clinic or improve the way we use existing drugs.”