It is well known that mutations drive cancer cell growth and resistance to treatment. However, these mutations can also become a weak point, or Achilles’ heel, for a tumour. Now, scientists at the University of Oxford have found a new way to kill cancer cells with mutations in a key cancer gene called SETD2.
One of the areas of expertise in Oxford is radiation biology - the impact of radiation on living cells. The damage radiation does to cells is brought about by the damage caused to DNA. Scientists in the Department of Oncology and the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology in Oxford, are focusing their work on understanding how cells repair that damage.
On 5 September Professor Nicola Sibson and Dr Ester Hammond from the Department of Oncology, donned their running gear and took part in the Cancer Research UK Race for Life Pretty Muddy® event in Windsor.
The pair, who are both group leaders in the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology, raised over £1000 for Cancer Research UK by running the 5K muddy obstacle course at Olympic venue Dorney Lake. The course included cargo nets, jumps, walls, slides and crawls with the added challenge of being covered in mud.
Cancer Research UK and the Medical Research Council (MRC) have jointly launched a Stratified Medicine Consortium to help personalise bowel cancer treatment by matching patients to the most effective therapies.
The Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre has been awarded Major Centre status by Cancer Research UK. The award was made in recognition of the world-leading science taking place in Oxford, the innovative collaborations by Centre members, and the power of the cancer research network that has already been established. As a result of the award, the Centre will receive an extra £5 million in funding over the next 2 years.
Ester Hammond is the recipient of the 2015 Michael Fry Research Award from the Radiation Research Society.
Ester is a CRUK Group Leader and Associate Professor in the CRUK/MRC Oxford Institute for Radiation Oncology. Her research is focused on investigating how tumours survive in conditions which include low oxygen (hypoxia), with the aim of targeting the hypoxic parts of tumours to improve cancer therapy.
Professor Gillies McKenna has been awarded the 2014 Gold Medal from The Royal College of Radiologists. The medal is the highest honour the College has to bestow, and was awarded to Gillies for his ‘enormous national and international contribution to clinical oncology research and training.’
Professor Tim Maughan from the Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology, University of Oxford is working on a new collaboration with the Queen’s University in Belfast who are leading a euro-wide research programme to find a new treatment for bowel cancer. This new research is being funded by the European Commission.
The MErCuRIC study, which was launched yesterday in Belfast, involves eight different countries and will look at two major genetic factors which make bowel cancer difficult to treat.
The first human trial of a pioneering personalised cancer treatment developed at Oxford University will begin this week, with the potential to tackle a wide range of late-stage cancers.
A major challenge in drug development is that all cancer patients respond differently to treatment, making it difficult to know how best to treat each patient. For the first time, a phase I trial in Oxford will investigate not only a new drug, called CXD101, but also a new test to predict which patients could be successfully treated by this class of drug.