This PhD project will use new computational approaches to identify where sarcomas have made changes to a person’s DNA and left a footprint (or ‘mutation signature’). Once these footprints can be identified in DNA, they can be used to identify which patients will respond to specific treatment. It will train a researcher of the future in this cutting edge research field.
One of the cell types found in a sarcoma tumour is a fibroblast. Fibroblasts are known to be very important in the growth and spread of other cancers, but much less is known about how they work in sarcoma. This project will investigate the role of fibroblasts in soft tissue sarcoma. The more we know about how fibroblasts affect the growth and spread of sarcoma, the better we can fight it.
Kaposi's sarcoma is a cancer resulting from infection by the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. There are no effective treatments for the advanced disease. This project is searching for potential new treatments by developing methods of blocking the damaging proteins produced by the virus.
Uterine leiomyosarcoma is a poorly understood cancer that doesn’t respond well to current treatment methods. This project is working towards changing that by using powerful new techniques to understand more about how this cancer grows and spreads, and by testing a promising new class of drugs for their effectiveness in treating uterine leiomyosarcoma.
This project will investigate the role of molecules known as ‘small non-coding RNAs’ in chondrosarcoma. These molecules have been shown to have potential as targets for treatment, but we don’t know enough about how they work yet. This project will provide the crucial first steps from which future researchers can build towards treatments for chondrosarcoma.
Correctly diagnosing which type of soft tissue sarcoma a patient has is crucial for ensuring they receive the best possible care. This project is developing a diagnostic method which can be used to identify which soft tissue sarcoma type a person has using either a blood or tissue sample, so patients could be put on the best drug and treatment pathway at an earlier stage knowing it has a higher chance of success.
Osteosarcoma is much more common in dogs than humans. This project looks at the blood tests results of dogs being treated for osteosarcoma, in order to study the connection between levels of circulating tumour cells and disease progression. As the disease pattern of osteosarcoma in dogs and humans is the same, answers from dogs could translate into results for people.
We don’t fully understand how sarcoma spreads through the body, it is thought that sarcoma cells travel in the bloodstream from the tumour site to other sites in the body. This study will look at whether we can identify these cells in the bloodstream. We’ll take samples from patients under our care and try to match any disease spread with different cells types.
Some viruses can be modified to attack cancer cells, whilst leaving healthy cells unharmed. However, it can be hard for the viruses to reach the tumours to attack, without the body’s immune system attacking the viruses. This project is looking at combining cancer-killing viruses with a technique that allows for to get them straight to the affected limb. This will give the virus the helping hand it needs to reach the tumour without being destroyed by body’s immune system.
This project is using data sets from Public Health England and Sarcoma UK’s National Sarcoma Survey to look at how a person’s social background can affect’s their sarcoma journey and their route to a diagnosis.