Dr Sharon McKenna awarded €250K plus grant from HRB to evaluate a new treatment regime for oesophageal cancer
Dr Sharon McKenna has just been awarded a grant from the Health Research Board under their HRA Scheme 2011 for a grant entitled “Evaluation of new treatment regimes to combat autophagic survival mechanisms in cancer”. The award totals €286,811.20 over 3 years and looks to test a new treatment regime for oesophageal cancer.
An important precondition to improving the prognosis for oesophageal cancer patients is a greater understanding of how cancer cells respond to treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs. It is apparent that many cancers develop resistance to the drugs currently used to treat this disease thereby allowing the cancer cells to survive and reoccur, at variable times after the initial diagnosis and treatment.
Research already performed at the Cork Cancer Research Centre has demonstrated that a mechanism called Autophagy may be used by cancer cells to avoid cell death, the normal response to chemotherapy, thus allowing cancer cells to survive. We have now developed new treatment strategies to circumvent these survival mechanisms that have shown success in the lab.
The aim of this project is to test these new treatment regimes in oesophageal and lung tumours. In addition we are developing a test that will enable better tailoring of cancer treatment. It is hoped that these more targeted regimes will more effectively induce cancer cell death and improve outlook for cancer patients.