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Cancer

This category contains 17 posts

Lights, Camera, Immuno-action!

Melissa Bedard, a DPhil student in the Cerundolo Lab , writes about her research on invariant natural killer T cells, and the starring role they may be able to play in the fight against cancer.    We all know the classic plot line featured in countless spy and action movies. An intelligence team is defending … Continue reading

Deciphering the power of the leukaemia stem cell

Healthy stem cells produce billions of different cells every day, and these go on to perform a wide range of functions in our bodies. But this production line can be hijacked, as is the case in certain types of cancer. One such cancer is Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Zahra Aboukhalil, a DPhil student in the Vyas lab, is trying to find out how this hijacking takes place in AML. In this piece, for which she was awarded the Moorbath Domus prize by Linacre College, she tells us more about her project and how it could help develop improved treatments. Continue reading

INTERFERing: the immune responses helping cancer cells resist treatment

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy generally work by causing damage to the DNA of cancer cells. Unfortunately, cancer cells can become resistant to this DNA damage and therefore resistant to the treatments. Recent collaborative research in the WIMM between labs in the Department of Oncology and the MRC Human Immunology Unit sheds light on … Continue reading

Stopping the spread: towards new treatments for childhood cancer

Cancers of the blood, or leukaemias, that involve mutations in a gene called Mixed Lineage Leukaemia (MLL) have a very poor prognosis and are particularly prevalent in young children. Due to the aggressive nature of this type of cancer, there is an acute need for the development of more effective therapies to help treat the … Continue reading

Pinch by pinch

What does your genome have in common with a Michelin-starred chef? Find out in this article by Yale Michaels, a DPhil student in Tudor Fulga’s lab, written for the MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award.  You have always dreamt of becoming chef de cuisine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. You started sweeping floors and peeling potatoes and have worked … Continue reading

Scratching the surface: how to kill a cancer cell

The side effects of many cancer treatments are notoriously damaging, sometimes to the extent that they have a greater impact on the health of the patient than the cancer itself. The reason for this is that cancer drugs also kill healthy cells as well as the cancer cells, and so scientists are working hard to … Continue reading

Dealing with damaged DNA

The DNA inside your cells is under an enormous amount of strain, every second of the day. It is constantly being pulled, twisted, folded, squashed and stretched – and all it wants to do is carry on doing its absolutely essential job of keeping you alive. In patients with Fanconi anaemia, a form of blood … Continue reading

Know your enemy: fighting cancer from the inside out

The horrific side effects of many cancer treatments are all too well known: hair loss, muscle wasting, loss of appetite – and many more. The reason that the majority of cancer therapies have such broad and devastating effects on the health of the patient is that these treatments are often what is known as non-specific: … Continue reading

Lighting up our sentinels

Traditionally, gynaecological cancers (those found in a woman’s reproductive system) are diagnosed using an invasive and potentially dangerous technique that often leads to additional health concerns for the patient – as if coping with the cancer itself wasn’t enough. Fortunately, scientists working in Professor Ahmed Ahmed’s lab at the WIMM have recently developed an alternative … Continue reading

An alternative path to immortality

In December 2015, David Clynes (a postdoc in Richard Gibbons’ lab) was awarded a 5-year fellowship from Children with Cancer to set up his own research group. Here, his colleague and co-author Barbara Xella describes the work that was instrumental in obtaining this funding, published in Nature Communications last year. Chromosomes are long DNA molecules … Continue reading

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