Beatson researchers are set to receive almost £1.8 million over the next five years as part of a £19 million investment in a global project to investigate why some cancers are specific to certain tissues and not others.
Cancer Research UK's Grand Challenge is the most ambitious cancer research grant in the world, with the potential to revolutionise how we understand, prevent, diagnose and treat the disease.
The Beatson scientists will work as part of a team of researchers from Manchester, the US and the Netherlands who beat stiff international competition to secure the funding.
They will bring their world-leading expertise in bowel cancer to the pioneering project, which was selected by an international panel of experts from a shortlist of ten exceptional, multi-disciplinary collaborations from universities, institutes and industry across the globe.
Beatson Institute Director Owen Sansom said: “This Cancer Research UK Grand Challenge funding will be transformative. It will allow us to work together with some of the best research groups from around the world and to do some really exciting and ambitious research to try and find an answer to this key question about early disease in cancer.”
Cancer Research UK’s Grand Challenge was established to help scientists attack some of the hardest, unanswered questions in cancer research.
The international project team is looking to understand why genetic faults only affect certain tissues.
If someone carries a potentially cancer-causing gene mutation, this fault can exist in every cell of the body, but only causes specific cancers, such as breast or skin. The team is studying why this is the case, and will use this information to find ways to prevent or treat cancer in these organs.
Owen continued: “My team have been trying to understand for a number of years why mutations in a gene called APC are really common in bowel cancer. With this £1.8 million funding we will try to uncover why we only see the APC mutation in bowel cancer; why not breast cancer or skin cancer? If we can work out the reason this gene mutation doesn’t cause cancer in these other organs, then our hope is we might be able to find a way to make the bowel resistant to the APC mutation and prevent cancer from developing.”
The funding announcement has been covered by numerous media outlets.
For more information, visit www.cruk.org.uk/grandchallenge
Pictured above: Beatson Institute Director Owen Sansom (photo credit: Steve Welsh)
Beatson Institute researchers led by Dr Saverio Tardito have been investigating the difference that using traditional media vs a homemade one that more closely mimics physiological conditions can make to the outcome of experiments. The work has been published in Science Advances: Improving the metabolic fidelity of cancer models with a physiological cell culture medium. The research has been covered in an article in The Atlantic: Scientists Have Been Studying Cancers in a Very Strange Way for Decades and also in Cancer Research UK's blog: Cell culture shock – a scientist’s hunt for the perfect cocktail.
Click here to read more about Saverio's research group.