May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

In recognition of May being Skin Cancer Awareness Month the Cancer Research UK Oxford Centre will be posting a series of blog posts highlighting the contribution of Oxford researchers to global efforts to tackle Melanoma.

Melanoma is the 5th most common cancer in the UK, and although it is more common in older people, it is relatively common in younger people. In 2015 about 16,000 people in the UK were diagnosed with melanoma, and within the last decade this number has increased by almost 50%. Over 2,500 of these people will develop advanced disease. Treatment of Advanced Melanoma has recently been transformed by introducing immunotherapies and targeted inhibitors in the treatment of patients who are not cured by surgery.

Oxford’s researchers have a broad range of scientific backgrounds and expertise, and are focused on trying to develop novel immunotherapies (such as innate immune stimulators and oncolytic viruses) to treat Melanoma. They are also interested in how the behaviour of melanoma cells can change under stress. Other scientists are working on better tests to predict who benefits from new treatments, like immunotherapy, and to identify who is likely to get side effects. One example of the type of projects Oxford researchers have been involved in is the early clinical development of the new drug IMCgp100, which has shown promise in treating Melanoma patients, whose cancer cannot be removed with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body.

Further efforts of the Oxford community are typified in the articles summarised below.
(Researcher spotlights will be listed here throughoyt May)

Prof Mark Middleton – Co-director of the Cancer research UK Oxford Centre & Head of the Department of Oncology.

Funding boost for OxPLoreD early detection study

UK Research and Innovation provides additional funds for whole genome sequencing as part of the OxPLoreD programme of research into high-risk conditions for blood cancer

Oxfordshire-based SCAN pathway wins BMJ award

A pathway designed to investigate individuals with non-specific but concerning symptoms of cancer wins the BMJ Awards 2020 Cancer Care Team of the Year

Prof. Ellie Barnes comments on the 2020 Nobel Prize for Medicine

Prof Ellie Barnes comments on the recent Nobel Prize in Medicine, awarded to Harvey J. Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles M. Rice for their discovery of the Hepatitis C virus, a major global health problem and a cause of cancer

Therapeutic potential for breast cancer found in the matrix

Work currently underway in the laboratory of Prof Kim Midwood is investigating the therapeutic anti-cancer potential of tenascin-C, a molecule found in the extracellular matrix of breast cancer

The developmental origins of resistant infant leukaemia

The Roy and Milne labs are investigating the developmental origins of infant leukaemia and its influence on the biology of the disease

Tackling blood cancers in Tanzania and Uganda

Scientists from Tanzania, Uganda and Oxford University have teamed up in a new child blood cancer program

Epigenetic markers for melanoma patient response to ICB therapy

Development fund winners Rosalin Cooper & Ben Fairfax are investigating the epigenetic landscape of melanoma patients and how it can impact patient sensitivity to ICB therapy

New melanoma cancer drug in development shows promise

University of Oxford and Immunocore Ltd have investigated Tebentafusp, a new anti-tumor immune response drug for patients with metastatic melanoma

The relationship between unexpected weight loss & cancer

New research will help GPs to identify the signs they should look for to swiftly diagnose cancer in people with unexpected weight loss