THANKS to a new collaboration between AMMF, the UK’s only cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) charity, and experts at the University of Nottingham, exciting research is underway to investigate possible treatments for this devastating primary liver cancer.
The project is based on the finding that specific proteins known as transcription factors are higher in cholangiocarcinoma and are responsible for driving tumour growth and tumour invasion. As part of the collaboration, AMMF will support PhD student Grace Martin from the University’s School of Medicine and her supervisor, Dr Sheela Jayaraman, to investigate new treatments for the disease over a 3-year period. Specifically, Grace will explore new ways to decrease the amount of these proteins in the tumour. In addition, she will also investigate how these proteins change even before the tumour is detected in specific inflammatory conditions.
Grace and Dr Jayaraman join a larger cohort of experts and clinicians working on cholangiocarcinoma in the School of Medicine. The larger team are working towards building a centre of expertise for research into this little-understood cancer.
“I am grateful to get the opportunity to work on this exciting new project, thanks to receiving the AMMF funded PhD scholarship and the collaboration between the charity and the University of Nottingham. The research will provide world-leading knowledge on cholangiocarcinoma biology, which will help lead to the discovery of novel drug targets for cholangiocarcinoma. I am excited by the prospect of being able to work with experts across multiple medical disciplines and have access to the most innovative technologies and outstanding science for my research.”
Helen Morement, CEO, AMMF, explained:
“This is potentially very exciting, and AMMF is delighted to be able to support this new research. We hope that the results of this work will provide not only a real step forward in improving our understanding of this cancer but also towards some long-awaited possible improvements in treatment.
“With increasing incidence globally, mortality parallel with that incidence and no improvement in survival for decades, cholangiocarcinoma is an under-researched, much neglected, truly devastating disease. We are delighted, therefore, to be able to support Grace and Dr Jayaraman at the School of Medicine in Nottingham in this promising work.”
Dr Jayaraman said:
“I am delighted and proud to have received this AMMF funded PhD scholarship to investigate new strategies for the inhibition of bile duct cancer growth. This studentship will allow my laboratory to take forward our results identifying PRH as a new factor that promotes the growth of bile duct tumours and our data showing that there are new vulnerabilities in the tumour cells that can be targeted as a consequence of high PRH activity.”
The research will be carried out at the University’s Centre for Cancer Sciences, which opened in September 2019.