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Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and it was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer, and the incidence of neoplastic diseases is predicted to rise sharply in the next decades. The development of new techniques for early detection of cancer and the emergence of personalized cancer treatments are revolutionizing this field, while posing ethical and economical challenges. Our SIG at the Open University undertakes a comprehensive investigation of cancer diagnostics, from its genomic foundations to its sociological implications.

Current research: covers a wide range of cancer diagnostics and therapy topics, including: breast and prostate cancer genetics; identification of new prognostic algorithms; new methods for cancer screening; development of personalized therapies to prevent metastatic spreading; use of photodynamic therapy for cancer treatment.

Researchers:
Francesco Crea: prostate cancer genetics (featured in The Conversation https://theconversation.com/why-cancer-cells-go-to-sleep-94956 )

Sushila Rigas: breast cancer genetics (featured in BBC Tomorrow’s World, see article here)
Claire Turner: use of VOC for cancer diagnosis
Jon Golding: radiotherapy and photodynamic therapy
Nacho Romero: cancer metastasis
Martin Bootman: mechanisms of calcium-dependent cancer
Geraint (Taff) Morgan: use of mass spectrometry for cancer detection and prevention
Yao Xu: DNA chemistry for Cancer Studies

If you are interested in being a part of the Cancer Diagnostics Special Interest Group please email healthwellbeing@open.ac.uk where further details will be provided.

Previous activities:

1) Dr. Luca Quagliata (Principal Investigator, University of Basel): “Precision Medicine in Oncology”.

The Cancer Diagnostics and Therapy SIG have recently hosted a lecture delivered by Dr Luca Quagliata, Principal Investigator at the University of Basel, Switzerland. Dr Quagliata is responsible for the University’s cancer biobank, which is one of the most accurate and comprehensive biobanks in Europe. He is also an expert in the discovery and clinical application of biomarkers for liver diseases. Dr Quagliata’s group deals with the ethical and data management issues arising from the collection of large amounts of clinical samples and personal data. In his lecture, Dr. Qugliata will cover all these aspects, and hopefully attract the attention of a diverse range of academics. After the talk, Dr Quagliata will be available to meet OU researchers interested in collaborating with his team.

  • Dr Quagliata is an ongoing collaborator of Dr Francesco Crea and Professor Nacho Romero. They have recently received a Cancer Research UK grant to study the molecular basis of aggressive prostate cancer.

2) Prof. Yuzhuo Wang (Professor of Urology, University of British Columbia): “Translational Cancer Research: Challenges and Opportunities”.

Over the past 50 years, despite the enormous commitment of resources to research on cancer, and the dedication of thousands of researchers focused on this problem, deaths from cancer have changed relatively little. Clearly the obstacles are substantial. This presentation enabled us to share a few lessons learned from the laboratory and also discuss some of the promising hypotheses and new research approaches that should or will be explored.

Molecular and Bioinformatics Oncology (MBO) journal club
The MBO journal club provides students with the opportunity to give a presentation and develop key skills in evaluating and assessing scientific journals in a friendly and supportive environment. Members of the club can nominate themselves to present a research paper of their choice that’s fits with the subject area. Each month the paper will be sent out to the group to bring along to the meeting. After a brief introduction of the paper by the speaker, the group will have a chance to discuss the paper, facilitated by supervisors and academics. We hope that the discussion will also stimulate research ideas and new networks.

The discussions are quite specialised, but anyone is welcome to join the mailing list to see if at any time we discuss a subject of their interest. If anyone is interested in presenting, they are also welcome to join us.

The club meet once a month and is chaired by Dr Francesco Crea and Dr Sushila Rigas, and is organised by Stephen Chandler. If you would like to join the club, please email stephen.chandler@open.ac.uk who will put you on the mailing list.

Save the Date – Health & Wellbeing PRA – AWAY DAY 2 July 2019

Are you a researcher interested in Health & Wellbeing? Date: 2 July, 2019 Time: TBC Location: Chicheley Hall The Health and Wellbeing PRA Team will be hosting our third annual Away Day event on 2nd July 2019 at Chicheley Hall. The aim of the day is to get health and wellbeing researchers together to develop and reflect on all aspects of health and wellbeing research. There will be talks...

Opportunities for Retreats, Writing Days, Sandpits and Meetings

We are delighted to announce that the PRA has several opportunities throughout the coming year for events to be held off campus.  We have availability in October 2018 and February, March, May and July 2019 for meetings to be held at Horwood Estate. These meetings would include a working lunch and refreshments for up to 10 people.  These could be used for grant writing days, scoping...

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