Thursday, 11 February 2010

A notch above most research

Monday saw me in Manchester visiting one of our research fellows – in fact the first award we made - who is over half way through his five-year fellowship. My blogs seem to be dominated by transport but I nearly didn’t get there thanks to problems on the Northern Line and then had to come home via Sheffield because of train problems. Rather a lot of travelling for a couple of hours meeting but it was really worth it.

Research has shown that breast cancer can originate from a type of cell called cancer-initiating stem cells (CSCs). Current treatments kill the breast cancer tumour cells but not the CSCs, which then continue to divide and form a new tumour. This spread of breast cancer is the real challenge we face. Rob Clarke has been working on these CSCs for some time and has identified a receptor on the cells which, if destroyed, allow the cell to be destroyed as well. I am not going to go into details here – have a look at the press release on the recent publication but watch out for Notch4!

One of my favourite blogs is Simon Denegri’s. Simon is Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities. Breast Cancer Campaign has been a member for quite some years and in the early days of the charity AMRC was our guiding light. All our very rigorous research review processes started with their advice and they play a very critical role helping ensure high standards are maintained throughout the medical research sector. I would go so far as to say that I personally would not donate money to a medical research charity that was not a member.

Simon’s blog isn’t about any of that – it is about what makes the medical research sector so successful in the UK – as Mark Walport of the Wellcome Trust said – independent, innovative and creative – but to which Simon adds – trust, passion and quality.

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