Dr Marnix Jansen
Based at University College London, Dr Marnix Jansen dedicates his time to two ambitious projects. He’s collecting samples taken from patients with a condition called Barrett’s oesophagus, which can raise the risk of oesophageal (food pipe) cancer. He wants to find out how certain cells in Barrett’s oesophagus change over time and drive the condition to become cancerous. He’s also looking at the genetics of early oesophageal cancer to find out which gene faults fuel the disease.
Through this research, Dr Jansen hopes to gain new insight into how oesophageal cancer develops and progresses. This could help doctors better understand the risk of cancer for people with Barrett’s oesophagus, and also how likely the disease is to worsen or come back in people diagnosed with early-stage oesophageal cancer.
Dr Jansen’s other work focuses on the immune system’s role in cancer. Working with Professor Daniel Alexander and Dr Yinyin Yuan, he’s using computers and artificial intelligence to build 3D reconstructions of how tumour cells and immune cells interact. By piecing together hundreds of tissue samples, he’ll map the landscape of immune cells in the cancer’s environment, and find out which patterns of cells could predict which patients are likely to respond to immunotherapy treatment. A tailored approach like this could make a real difference for immunotherapy, which has proven highly successful for some patients but hasn’t worked for others.