Karen Sayal, CRTF

CRUK-MRC Institute for Radiation Oncology

Karen Sayal graduated from Cambridge University with a medical degree, she remained in Cambridge for her foundation and core training, moving to Oxford as the first NIHR-funded Academic Clinical Trainee in Clinical Oncology. During her undergraduate and junior doctor training, she was actively involved in multiple ovarian and breast cancer clinical studies, including the OVO-3 and MANACT trials. She is currently a a senior Clinical Oncology registrar and CRUK-funded Clinical Research Fellow.

What’s your current research and how could it impact patients?

Hypoxia (low oxygen levels) are well recognised to negatively impact survival in breast cancer. We are studying the underlying molecular changes seen in response to variations in hypoxia by comparing the gene expression profiles in breast cancer patient samples. Our insights will then help to inform the development of the next generation of therapies.

Why did you choose your project?

The project integrates skills in molecular biology, high throughput technology and big data computational analysis. These domains are reshaping cancer research and offering unparalleled biological insights which will ultimately transform patient care.

And finally, what does being involved in cancer research mean to you?

Improving patient outcomes is the ultimate goal of our work. Every patient encounter is an opportunity to deepen my perspective on the complexity of cancer. Being involved in research enables me to then harness my clinical insight within a multidisciplinary framework to push the therapeutic boundaries.