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Posts tagged ‘cancer research’

Cholangiocarcinoma: The cancer you’ve never heard of

Katie EmberIn her runner-up article for the 2016 Max Perutz Science Writing Award, Katie Ember, a PhD student at the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, explains how she is using light to improve detection of a rare cancer.

It’s just as vital to our survival as our hearts. But the first time I watched a human liver being dissected, I realised how little I knew about this incredible organ.  Read more

Preparing to move – how cancer can use your immune system as a highway

Dr Jacqui Shields and Dr Angela Riedel at the MRC Cancer Unit explain the science behind these brightly-coloured blobs that show us how cancer cells prepare their road ahead so they can spread around the body.

A healthy lypmh node next to a lymph node that has been damaged by signals from a cancer.

Breaking down your defences: cancer cells send signals to a healthy lymph node (left) that distort its shape and damage its function (right) making it easier for a tumour to take hold.

One of cancer’s deadliest features is its ability to move through your immune system’s ready-made network of vessels and nodes.

Often, we don’t know a cancer has spread through the immune system until it’s too late, but now we may have found something that could help us predict when that’s going to happen: our findings suggest that before cancer cells even begin to move, they emit signals which send the new area into chaos. Read more

Fighting cancer like an infection

Professors Irv Weissman and Ravi Majeti at Stanford University and Professor Paresh Vyas at the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit in Oxford, are working on an antibody from the Stanford investigators that enables the immune system to detect and kill cancer cells. They are now testing whether it’s safe and effective for use in people with blood cancer. In this week’s blog they tell us how they collaborated across the Atlantic to get public funding for a project that has led to a spin out with multiple backers and a promising clinical trial.

Immune cells start to recognise and destroy a tumour

What if we could make our immune system fight cancer like it fights infection?

These aren’t the only teams in the world grappling with that question but for Professor Irv Weissman and Professor Paresh Vyas, the solution feels tantalisingly close for patients with blood cancer. Read more