Sunday, 29 August 2010

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Clinical Research Training Fellowship

August 18, 2010 – 9:29 am

The Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund is delighted to announce the award of a ‘Clinical Research Training Fellowship’ grant in collaboration with the British Lung Foundation and Medical Research Council. The award of £247,624 has been made to Dr Elisabeth Sage who is based at University College London. This award will fund Dr Sage for 3 years, during which time she will research a potential new treatment for mesothelioma.

Current treatment options for mesothelioma are limited and new therapies are needed urgently. One new research area involves cells called mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MSCs are usually found within our bone marrow but travel via the blood stream towards cancers and can infiltrate into them. These cells can be modified to carry a therapy called ‘TRAIL’, which kills cancer cells without damaging surrounding healthy cells.

Previous studies have shown that MSCs carrying TRAIL can be sent to lung cancer and destroy the cancer cells. In all cases cancer growth was reduced and in 40% cancers were eliminated.

In initial experiments, Dr Sage has shown these MSCs carrying TRAIL can destroy malignant pleural mesothelioma cancer cells. She will now examine how widely effective this new therapy is and whether it can be improved by combining it with existing chemotherapy drugs.

If these experiments are successful this treatment could easily be delivered to patients through a tube directly to the cancer in the space surrounding the lungs.

We look forward to following this work as it develops over the next 3 years

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