Research carried out by Daphne Jackson Fellow identifies cancer weak spots

12 February 2015 | News news

Dr Frances Pearl, a Daphne Jackson Fellow 2011-2013, has analysed genetic data from 5000 cancerous tumours to identify potential new targets for cancer treatments. Read on to find out more.

The research, carried out during Frances’ Fellowship, involved analysing the DNA of tumours from over 5000 cancer patients to identify ‘weak spots’ that could be targeted with new medicines. The team, co-led by Dr Pearl and Dr Bissan Al-Lazikani at the Institute of Cancer Research, focused on ‘DNA repair’ systems within the genetic code that normally protect the cell from uncontrolled division, but that are defective in almost all cancers.

“Knowing which DNA repair processes are defective in an individual tumour allows us to target new drugs that are only toxic to cells with a particular pattern of mutations – ie cancer cells.” said Dr Pearl. This approach, tailored to individual cancers, could help avoid the toxic side-effects commonly experienced during chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

“Using ‘big data’ analysis, our study has identified untargeted DNA repair proteins that look especially promising as the targets for new anti-cancer drugs, including the proteins ATM and CDK7.2 explains Dr Al-Lazikani. “We hope this study will help speed up the development of new personalised cancer treatments.”

Dr Pearl returned to research with a Daphne Jackson Fellowship sponsored by the Medical Research Council, following a 7 year break to look after her young family. Dr Katie Perry, Chief Executive of the Daphne Jackson Trust said “We are delighted that Frances has re-established her research career with the help of a Daphne Jackson Fellowship and that the research she is doing has the potential to make a big impact on developing new cancer treatments.’

The research, which involved computational analysis of large genetic datasets, is published 24th February 2015 in Nature Reviews Cancer. Title: Therapeutic opportunities within the DNA damage response

To find out more visit the University of Sussex website.

The University of Sussex supports Daphne Jackson Fellows. For details of current opportunities, please contact us and visit our current opportunities page.

Related posts

28 November 2017 Link Image

New Annual Review 2016, Making an Impact 30 ...

Last year was an incredible and eventful year for the Daphne Jackson Trust as we celebrated thirty years since Daphne ...

12 October 2015 Link Image

60 Daphne Jackson Fellows to attend research conference ...

More than 60 Daphne Jackson Fellows will join sponsors, supervisors, Daphne Jackson Trust staff and trustees at the Daphne Jackson ...

12 October 2012 Link Image

Invitation from Government Office for Science

Invitation to Scientists and Engineers outside of the Civil Service to complete Government Office for Science. The Government Office for ...

12 June 2014 Link Image

Updated application guidelines available

We have revised our guidelines to help make the Daphne Jackson Fellowship application process easier to follow. Visit our new ...

12 October 2014 Link Image

Could you be our new Chair of Board ...

The Daphne Jackson Trust is the UK's leading organisation dedicated to realising the potential of scientists and engineers returning to ...

12 February 2014 Link Image

Trust’s Chair of Board is one of the ...

We are delighted that Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, Chair of the Daphne Jackson Trust's Board of Trustees has been named ...