A scientist working at UoB has been granted £1.4m by Cancer Research UK to carry out potentially revolutionary research into how cancer compromises healthy cells. Dr Mathew Coleman, who is based within the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the university, will carry out his work over a period of six years, and it […]

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A scientist working at UoB has been granted £1.4m by Cancer Research UK to carry out potentially revolutionary research into how cancer compromises healthy cells. Dr Mathew Coleman, who is based within the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences at the university, will carry out his work over a period of six years, and it is hoped that the findings will contribute part of a greater understanding of various types of tumour.

Dr Coleman’s research will be focused on the relationship between cancer and three specific proteins. According to the scientist, these proteins ‘are all enzymes that act as ‘locksmiths’ for other proteins’. In cancer patients, these proteins become defective, meaning they can no longer perform their vital functions. It is thought that when the proteins become faulty, they can cause abnormalities in the growth and function of healthy cells, which in turn can lead to the onset of cancer.

By studying the tissue and cells of patients with tumours, it is hoped that Dr Coleman and his team will pave the way for new pioneering cancer treatments, with the scientist saying ‘we may be able to identify and develop new drugs that target the cellular processes [the proteins] control… or, we may be able to develop drugs that act as a “skeleton key” that does their job for them.’

In a statement, Dr Coleman expressed his appreciation for the opportunity, saying, ‘we’re incredibly grateful to the patients who donate their tumour samples to research; their contribution is making a real impact in allowing researchers like me to understand cancer. We’re also extremely thankful to the people who support Cancer Research UK because without them, our work would not be possible.’

Cancer Research UK was created in 2002, and for 15 years the organisation has worked to raise money to fund the research projects of scientists within the field. The charity hopes that scientific progress will mean that, within the next two decades, 75% of those diagnosed with cancer will survive the disease.

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