CRUK's Pioneering Research features BCI

Marianne Baker Posted in General News, Interviews 11 December 2013

cancer-research-uk_482Cancer Research UK have recently launched their first edition of Pioneering Research - a publication for the research community.

It includes an overview of research funding activities over the past year, as well as updates on key initiatives, such as the Francis Crick Institute, the Stratified Medicine Programme and investment in cancer imaging. BCI research has also been included, particularly the work of Professor Jude Fitzgibbon and his group in our Centre for Haemato-Oncology:

"Two recently funded teams that are aiming to take a personalised approach to the treatment of cancer are led by Dr James Brenton and Professor Jude Fitzgibbon. Their work exemplifies the type of research - bridging basic and translational boundaries - that we aim to support...

"The second team, led by Professor Jude Fitzgibbon at Queen Mary, University of London, aims to take a personalised approach to the treatment of follicular lymphoma. Professor Fitzgibbon's group is developing genetic tools that will be used to inform future biomarker-led clinical trials. The ultimate goal of this work will be targeting treatment based on a patient's epigenetic mutation profile. This innovative programme of work is the first of its kind for follicular lymphoma research."



Professor Fitzgibbon spoke to CRUK about his work here at BCI:

"Having worked on follicular lymphoma (FL) for more than 10 years, I feel that we are finally getting inside the mindset of the disease. It's an incurable cancer, more remarkable considering that 20% of patients are managed on a watchful waiting approach. For those who are treated, the majority initially respond well to immuno-chemotherapy. Sadly, most patients will relapse, and for some 20%-30% of cases it returns in an aggressive form. This makes it a fascinating disease to study, gaining insight into the molecular pathogenesis of FL and the twists and turns taken over the course of the disease.

I am very much indebted to past members of the CRUK Barts Centre, who, with funding from CRUK, created a haem-onc tissue bank in the early 1970s. Their policy of repeat biopsying at FL recurrence is now allowing us to chronicle not only the clinical, but also the genetic evolution of the disease, using next generation sequencing approaches. We know that each new episode of FL originates from an ancestral B-cell population, which seems to have acquired an ability to evade treatment and somehow propagate lymphoma. This is the cell we need to remove if we are to see an improvement in patient outcome."

You can read the full report here.

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