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  • Recently funded research – understanding what makes cancer tick - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    many different aspects of cancer from treating it to diagnosing it earlier and developing strategies to try and reduce the number of people getting the disease We assemble panels of experts from a range of different fields and they scrutinise applications from the wider research community before deciding what to fund Our Science Committee is responsible for funding a broad range of research looking into the nuts and bolts of cancer so that we can come up with new ideas for treating it or spotting it early The Committee meets twice a year Here are a few highlights from the Science Committee research projects we funded in April How cells repair faulty DNA Professor Steve Jackson Professor Steve Jackson University of Cambridge 4 1m Professor Jackson is working with yeast and animal cells to uncover how damaged DNA is repaired Cancer develops from mistakes in our DNA So knowing which molecules repair these mistakes and which ones are critical for a cancer cell s survival could lead to new treatments Professor Jackson s previous research in this area directly led to the development of a drug called olaparib which has been shown to improve things for people with certain forms of breast and ovarian cancers Understanding what makes cancer develop Professor Gerard Evan University of Cambridge 3 4m Professor Gerard Evan Professor Evan is looking at how changing the expression of a gene called Myc could affect lung and pancreatic cancers Myc is a core component of a cell s ability to replicate and in many cancers is mutated to be continuously switched on Professor Evan will use genetically engineered mice to selectively switch different genes on or off to observe what happens to Myc under different conditions Using these switchable genetics they might be able to identify potential drug targets Using chemistry to stop cancer proteins from forming Professor Ali Tavassoli University of Southampton 1 22m Professor Tavassoli has received one of Cancer Research UK s prestigious Programme Foundation Awards and is developing chemicals to interfere with the proteins that cancer cells need to survive particularly how these proteins stick together One of these is a molecule involved in telling cells to grow This molecule known as KRAS is faulty in many cancers including some of the most difficult to treat forms of the disease Professor Ali Tavassoli Finding ways to stop faulty KRAS from passing on growth signals by blocking it from interacting with other proteins could one day help patients with these types of cancers Dr Tavassoli will be using new technology to find chemicals that stop signalling molecules known as phosphoinsitide 3 kinases PI3K from working with faulty KRAS to keep cancer cells alive Other projects funded include Professor Kairbaan Hodivala Dilke works on blood vessel formation in tumours Her lab has previously found that a molecule called focal adhesion kinase or FAK for short can affect how well the cancer responds to treatment Professor Adrian Harris from the University of Oxford is looking at how

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/10/02/recently-funded-research-understanding-what-makes-cancer-tick/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Stopping cancer’s scrum for survival - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    recruit these protective immune cells to their own team surrounding them to keep back the immune system s killer cells So how do cancer cells recruit this protective huddle and avoid being tackled by the immune system No FAK no glory Last year we wrote about a molecule called Focal Adhesion Kinase FAK that cancer cells produce which helps them resist treatment FAK switches on a whole host of genes and signals inside cells that control various processes ranging from how sticky a cell is to whether it moves survives or dies And all of these signals can help a cancer to grow and spread FAK has also been shown to be important in the growth and spread of prostate bowel and breast cancers in mice And the cells that make up some patients cancers also seem to produce excess amounts of FAK So the Edinburgh team wanted to know precisely which signals FAK changes in cancer cells to help them grow and also how this was linked to the immune system Working with mice that had a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma the team switched FAK production on or off within the cancer cells to see how this affected their growth The cancer cells that could still produce FAK were able to keep growing and growing But without FAK the cancer cells were unable to hold back the immune system s killer T cells and within three weeks they were completely destroyed Next the team examined the different immune cells surrounding the tumours that still produced FAK and discovered that many were protective rather than the killer variety These protective cells called T regulatory cells dampen down the responses from other immune cells like killer T cells and they ve been known for some time to be a key component of cancer s strategy to keep the body s immune response at bay But how did they end up swarming the tumour and why are they only around when FAK is there Winning the line out The researchers then looked at other genes switched on in the FAK producing cancer cells Here they found that FAK was switching on an entire network of chemical signals called chemokines These act as distress signals allowing them to call for help from the immune system And what the team discovered was that FAK ultimately triggered the production of chemokines known to recruit protective immune cells Similar to a Rugby maul the cancer cells were using FAK to gather the protective T regulatory cells around them to ward off the cancer killing T cells So why does FAK have such an important role in cancer The key according to Dr Adam Byron an author on the study and researcher at the University of Edinburgh was finding out that when cells are stressed by becoming cancerous FAK s function changes Under cellular stress FAK is transported to the cell s nucleus where it has access to its DNA There it is

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/09/25/stopping-cancers-scrum-for-survival/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Cellular ‘kryptonite’ poses challenges in tackling childhood nerve cancer - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    mechanism is the first step to unlocking the power of the immune system And this could finally lead to a way to help patients with the disease A childhood scourge Dr Mussai Neuroblastoma is a childhood cancer that affects around 90 children a year in the UK and is usually diagnosed in children under the age of five The disease develops when the cells that are supposed to form nerve cells go wrong as a baby develops in the womb We ve written before about how Cancer Research UK is dedicated to finding the best possible combination of chemotherapy drugs for neuroblastoma particularly for children whose cancer has come back But scientists are also developing treatments that exploit one of the disease s unique properties almost all neuroblastoma cells are covered with a molecule known as GD2 which is very rarely found on healthy cells And this unique external appearance makes it stick out like a sore thumb and so is a perfect target for immunotherapy This is because immune cells work by recognising specific molecules on the surface of cells which flag them up for destruction So getting the immune system to target any cells covered with GD2 could offer real hope for children with neuroblastoma Unfortunately previous work to exploit this hasn t worked as well as scientists had predicted But this is where the work of Francis and his colleagues comes in They ve discovered that while neuroblastoma cells present a tantalising target for immune cells they ve also developed sophisticated countermeasures too Escaping justice The team examined what happened when they mixed a certain type of healthy immune cell with neuroblastoma cells taken from patients Surprisingly they found that the immune cells called T cells suddenly became incapable of doing their jobs Their ability to grow attack cancer cells and alert other immune cells to danger were all dramatically reduced But why There didn t seem to be any direct signal the cancer cells sent to the immune cells Francis told us The neuroblastoma cells just acted like kryptonite to the T cells Via Flickr CC BY 2 0 The neuroblastoma cells just acted like kryptonite to the T cells As soon as they were brought together all of the normal cancer fighting abilities of the immune cells were dramatically weakened So what was happening Cancer cells grow incredibly rapidly And to do this they use any source of energy they can find And it turns out that neuroblastoma cells are particularly fond of feeding off a chemical called arginine Arginine is one of the 20 amino acids that form the building blocks of all proteins To use it as a fuel neuroblastoma cells produce an enzyme called arginase II which breaks down the arginine for fuel The cancer cells devour so much arginine that the chemical gets pulled in from the surrounding area even from the nearby blood stream But by an unhappy coincidence it also turns out that arginine is absolutely critical for immune

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/08/01/cellular-kryptonite-poses-challenges-in-tackling-childhood-nerve-cancer/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Working together to beat cancer in young people - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    is a fantastic achievement But we can t rest on our laurels Recent research Reulen et al 2010 has shown in the decades following cancer treatment children face a dramatically increased risk of serious health problems compared to the general population In a way the problem of long term side effects illustrates how far we ve come in successfully treating some types of cancer in young people But with so many surviving it is even more incumbent on us to find kinder treatments And of course not everyone survives so as well as making life easier for survivors we still need to improve survival for other types of cancer that haven t seen as much success To work out ways to accomplish this the research community needs to work together to tackle the problem and identify how to break down these challenges And at the workshop last month that s exactly what happened The knowledge gap The workshop gathered more than 50 researchers and clinicians to discuss topics affecting young people with cancer including clinical data trials radiotherapy surgery and the long term consequences of cancer treatment One of the recurring themes throughout the workshop was that the research community doesn t collect enough data about young people treated for cancer This includes both long term follow up of cancer patients and the routine collection of detailed information on the biology of an individual patient s tumour The last point is especially important as the research communities understanding of cancer biology has increased in leaps and bounds in the past decade As Dr Antony Michalski paediatric oncologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital told us The explosion in our understanding of molecular biology has been fantastic over the last few years We ve now got the tools to really start to understand what makes the tumours tick and how the children react to the treatment And we have to use those tools not just in clinical trials but for every patient every time Watch the video on YouTube Ideally this would guide the sort of treatment young cancer patients receive For example if doctors knew whether a child or teenager had a particularly aggressive tumour early on they could scale the intensity of the cancer treatment to match Conversely young cancer patients with milder forms of the disease could be spared some of the side effects of treatment But these tactics can only be deployed to their greatest potential if the gaps in our knowledge are filled and this means routinely analysing each patient s cancer to look for clues for how best to treat it More Trial less error Fortunately the number of clinical trials available for young people with cancer is rapidly increasing And the trials that are opening are bigger more elaborate international trials which look to match patients to the best treatments At the workshop the experts discussed whether these new trials are as efficient as they could be Clinical trials for young people still take far

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2015/07/15/working-together-to-beat-cancer-in-young-people/ (2016-02-11)
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  • David Scott | Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    cancer subjects Near you Belfast Cardiff Edinburgh All locations By Researcher Professor Duncan Baird Professor Fran Balkwill Professor Andrew Biankin See all researchers More Our research history Our research strategy FUNDING FOR RESEARCHERS Our funding schemes Biomarker Project Awards Career Development Fellowship Grand Challenge award View all schemes and deadlines Applying for funding Start your application online Guide to filling in your application form How to make a successful application Funding committees Manage your research grant Manage your grant online Guide to managing a grant online Notify us of new publications Update your profile How we deliver research Our research strategy Our institutes Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Author David Scott Author David Scott Animal research is helping us beat cancer Category Science blog June 21 2011 David Scott More people are surviving cancer than ever before Thanks to decades of research survival from cancer has doubled in the last 40 years giving thousands of peo Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t believe the hype 10 persistent cancer myths debunked How does alcohol cause cancer Processed meat and cancer what you need to know How does alcohol cause cancer Headlines about e cigarettes don t mean they re

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/author/davidscott/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Building an artificial tumour in the lab - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Instead Professor Balkwill prefers to think of cancer as a rogue organ A normal organ such as your liver or lungs is made of several different cell types such as those that make blood vessels immune cells that protect against infection and fibroblast builder cells that give the organ its structure But Professor Balkwill says that while many of these normal healthy cells are present in cancer they are coerced and corrupted by the malignant cells forcing them to grow and spread For example the blood vessel cells in a cancer don t behave as they should and instead form very abnormal and leaky vessels On top of this the immune cells can t work properly because their normal good functions have been suppressed by the cancerous cells she says and the fibroblasts grow too much and produce too many growth factors that help the cancer cells grow and expand This dynamic mixture of normal cells and cancer cells is also known as the tumour microenviroment Professor Balkwill has spent much of her distinguished career working to unlock the secrets of the microenvironment to find ways to tackle cancer CANBUILD ovarian cancer In particular Professor Balkwill is determined to discover more about the role of the microenvironment in ovarian cancer This latest project funded by the European Research Council is shaped and complemented by her Cancer Research UK supported work Called CANBUILD the five year project will bring together a diverse team of world experts to build a living ovarian tumour microenvironment Professor Balkwill hopes specifically to reveal more about the inner workings of a type of ovarian cancer called high grade serous carcinoma HGSC the most common and lethal form of the disease Mouse model of ovarian cancer showing cancer cells in green immune cells in pink and blood vessels in red By the time women with ovarian cancer start to notice symptoms and are diagnosed with the disease it has often already spread metastasised into the abdomen which makes it much harder to treat successfully Through her Cancer Research UK work Professor Balkwill has already been using tissue samples from patients as well as animal models to study the complex microenvironment machinery that s at work in these tumours Her aim is to develop new treatments to target them For example she s working with our tech transfer arm Cancer Research Technology and pharmaceutical companies Affitech and AstraZeneca on ways to block a molecule called CCR4 which works on various immune cells in the tumour microenvironment Her team has also already developed a rudimentary three dimensional model of ovarian cancer with three different cell types Professor Balkwill now wants to take this research to the next level by building a whole living ovarian tumour in the lab a complex three dimensional human cancer in which the many different cell types of the microenvironment will communicate evolve and grow Although it will be tiny in size just a few millimeters across the task is huge in ambition And to

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2013/05/16/building-an-artificial-tumour-in-the-lab/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Animal research is helping us beat cancer - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    leukaemia and lymphoma with impressive results This story is repeated time and time again with other advances in cancer research Animal studies showed the benefits of radiotherapy in the early days of cancer research and surgical techniques such as keyhole surgery were first tested in animals Even prevention strategies such as the cervical cancer vaccine have relied on animal research and studies in animals continue to be vital in bringing benefits to cancer patients and saving lives around the world To give just one demonstration of the importance of animal research survival from childhood cancer has rocketed from just a quarter of children surviving the disease in the late 1960s to more than eight in ten surviving today This amazing progress is a direct result of treatments developed through studies in animals A better future thanks to animal research These are only a few examples of the countless benefits animal research has brought to people with cancer but there are thousands of other drugs and treatment techniques that are built on knowledge from tests in animals And it s not just cancer patients that benefit from animal research As the Royal Society s position statement on the use of animals in research points out virtually every medical achievement in the past century has depended directly or indirectly on research on animals At Cancer Research UK animal research is never undertaken lightly and we seek to use alternatives wherever it s possible But this fact remains millions of people all over the world are alive today thanks to animal research Much of this knowledge has also been used to tackle diseases that affect animals themselves including cancer Many people working for and supporting us know first hand how devastating cancer can be and all of us are deeply committed to beating the disease Animal research is a necessary means to an end helping people with cancer to survive Dr David Scott Director of Science Funding You can find out more about animal research on the Understanding Animal Research website Updated May 2014 References Chinwalla A et al 2002 Initial sequencing and comparative analysis of the mouse genome Nature 420 6915 520 562 DOI 10 1038 nature01262 KÖHLER G MILSTEIN C 1975 Continuous cultures of fused cells secreting antibody of predefined specificity Nature 256 5517 495 497 DOI 10 1038 256495a0 Gambacorti Passerini C et al 2011 Multicenter independent assessment of outcomes in chronic myeloid leukemia patients treated with imatinib Journal of the National Cancer Institute 103 7 553 61 PMID 21422402 Druker B et al 1996 Effects of a selective inhibitor of the Abl tyrosine kinase on the growth of Bcr Abl positive cells Nature Medicine 2 5 561 566 DOI 10 1038 nm0596 561 Kerbl DC McDougall EM Clayman RV Mucksavage P 2011 A history and evolution of laparoscopic nephrectomy perspectives from the past and future directions in the surgical management of renal tumors The Journal of urology 185 3 1150 4 PMID 21255799 Share this article More on this topic Tags Animal research Research and trials Comments Click here to cancel reply Louise November 26 2011 http www animalaid org uk h n CAMPAIGNS experiments ALL 730 Just to pick out a few points It says that because animals that were forced to inhale tobacco smoke didn t develop lung cancer vital health warnings about the harmful effects of smoking were delayed by many years Vioxx an arthritis drug was withdrawn after 140 000 heart attacks and strokes were reported by its users it was tested on animals and the effects weren t evident from these tests The elephant man drug that left 6 men with organ failure after the effects weren t found during tests on monkeys So it s not just harmful to animals it s harmful to humans as well therefore animal testing is a blatant waste of time Linda Wallace October 29 2011 Strongly disagree on using animals for testing even though my Dad died from Bowel Cancer then it spread to Stomach Intestines etc even though his 2 brothers my Uncles have prostrate cancer my sis in law Liz is recovering from Breast Cancer Grade 3 there must r other ways of testing I will put my name forward now for testing on me NO DEFENSLESS ANIMAL OR PERSON SHOULD BE USED IN TESTING THERE ARE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO WOULD VOLUNTEER D Royd October 27 2011 Testing on animals is immoral If you want to justify it to yourself I understand but that doesn t make the act moral George Griffin August 20 2011 All I can say to D Collins is when you have watched someone you love deeply and who has been part of your life for almost 40 years slowly die with cancer then I will be willing to entertain their views Until that day he she clearly does not know what they are talking about I challenge him her not to have an emotional reaction under such circumstances D Collins August 20 2011 Why is the survival of even one human more important than causing pain suffering and enforcing unnatural living conditions on many other creatures These creatures do not volunteer and are completely defenceless I can understand how people with cancer or who have lost relatives through cancer have an emotional reaction to such issues I also understand that there are companies profiting from animal research But logically humans have no more right to survive than any other species I don t understand how anyone can think that creating death and disease deliberately for whatever reason is not unethical If as stated in the article above mice are very similar to humans surely they will suffer in the same way as a human Leanne July 6 2011 Everything I have read so far is a very good example of human ignorance to think for one minute that testing chemicals on a living creature that can feel pain may be carried out in a humane way is stupid if

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2011/06/21/animal-research-is-helping-us-beat-cancer/comment-page-1/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Leukaemia - Cancer Research UK - Science blog
    Biomarker Project Awards Career Development Fellowship Grand Challenge award View all schemes and deadlines Applying for funding Start your application online Guide to filling in your application form How to make a successful application Funding committees Manage your research grant Manage your grant online Guide to managing a grant online Notify us of new publications Update your profile How we deliver research Our research strategy Our institutes Our centres Our research partnerships More Drug discovery and development Recently funded awards Researcher case studies ABOUT US What we do We beat cancer We fundraise We develop policy Our organisation Our strategy Our Trustees CEO and Executive Board Annual report and accounts Annual review Current jobs Graduates and interns Your development Benefits Cancer news Science blog Latest press releases Latest news reports Search all news More Contact Us Press office Publications HOME ABOUT CANCER SUPPORT US NEWS RESOURCES FUNDING RESEARCH ABOUT US You are here Home border 0 Support us Home About us Cancer news Science blog Topic Leukaemia Topic Leukaemia Engineering a cancer fighting immune super soldier Category Science blog January 19 2016 Laura Mears We explore the promise and challenges of research looking to engineer patients immune cells to fight cancer Read More Eye gene acts as partner in crime in leukaemia mystery case Category Science blog September 14 2015 Cancer Research UK Our scientists have solved the mystery of why a gene involved in human eye development may also play a role in an aggressive form of blood cancer Read More The cheek of it how you could help beat blood cancer Category Science blog March 5 2015 Henry Scowcroft Find out about blood stem cell donation how you could get involved and even help save someone s life Read More Producing new blood cells why reading the recipe matters Category Science blog October 16 2014 Aine McCarthy From Bake Off to the immune system we explore exciting new research that shows why following the genetic recipe is crucial for producing normal blood cells Read More Classifying leukaemia one size doesn t fit all Category Science blog September 26 2014 Anthea Martin This entry is part 18 of 25 in the series Our milestones A landmark research paper in 1977 changed the way children with acute leukaemia are diagnosed and treated We look at the story of a research milestone Read More Reading the code Professor Tony Kouzarides Category Science blog October 25 2013 Kat Arney The lab of Cancer Research UK scientist Professor Tony Kouzarides focuses on how genes get turned on and off we explore his work and how it links to cancer Read More No doctors did not inject HIV into a dying girl to treat her cancer Category Science blog June 25 2013 Kat Arney Experimental cancer treatments often hit the headlines we ve taken a look at the science behind a story involving cancer HIV and the immune system Read More Older Posts Newer Posts Popular posts Most read today Most discussed Don t

    Original URL path: http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/topic/cancer-type/leukaemia/ (2016-02-11)
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