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.

New prostate cancer risk tool

A new calculator has been developed by Professors Julia Hippisley-Cox and Carol Coupland to help GPs prioritise patients at high risk of prostate cancer.

Understanding mutation progression to detect ovarian cancer earlier

Nina Wietek from the Ahmed lab is investigating fallopian tube tissue to see what we can understand about precancerous mutations in the tissue from which ovarian cancers develops.

New study investigates how growth factors in our gut could initiate cancer

Dr Francesco Boccellato is investigating the mechanisms of tissue regulation in the healthy stomach and in a pre-cancerous condition known as atrophic gastritis. This may help to identify those who may have cancer, as well as find new ways to prevent cancer from progressing

Using Herpesvirus to fight cancer

The Seymour lab at the Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, has published a new paper investigating the use of oncolytic herpes virus-1 as a vector to augment immunotherapy in cancer

Oxford success at the early detection sandpit on pancreatic cancer

Professor Eric O’Neill and Dr Pui San Tan receive funding as part of teams applying novel approaches for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.

T-cell landscape mapping identifies new targets for pancreatic cancer immunotherapy

Through analysis of T-cell populations, Oxford pancreatic researchers identify novel therapeutic opportunities in pancreatic cancer patients
An animation showing a dial with green, amber and red risk levels for myeloma

New clinical prediction tools for myeloma

Dr Constantinos Koshiaris has developed clinical prediction models for use in primary care with the aim of accelerating myeloma diagnoses.

Early Detection Award for research into the clinical application of single cell genomics

Dr Onima Chowdhury will investigate the clinical application of single cell sequencing for early diagnosis and response prediction in myelodysplastic syndromes.
Doctor looking at skin

Higher testosterone levels in men linked to greater melanoma risk

New research from Dr Eleanor Watts at the Nuffield Department of Population Health has found this association for the first time