Edinburgh: stopping cancer spread in its tracks

Last updated: 26/02/2013

What's this project about?

Possibly the biggest challenge in successfully treating cancer is preventing it from spreading to other parts of the body. Professor Margaret Frame is an expert in this aspect of cancer research.

Her groundbreaking work at the Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre will open new doors to finding ways to stop cancer in its tracks and improve survival for patients.

Read the video transcript here.

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Project update - March 2011

We spoke with Professor Frame recently, and she shared some exciting updates about what's happening up in Edinburgh. Read on for her message:

Open QuoteWe are very excited by recent progress made by Alan Serrels in our team. He has been able to see contact between cancer cells and the body's immune system. This has shown what looks like 'killing' of cancer cells that appears to result in a dramatic slowing of tumour growth.

We're thrilled that funds from Cancer Research UK are helping towards us building a new state-of-the-art microscope that will be the first of its kind in a UK cancer centre! It will be built by the autumn, and will enable us to look directly at cancer, anti-cancer drugs and how cells respond to these drugs deep in tumour tissue.

Finally, we'd like to say an enormous thanks to all who have supported our project on MyProjects. We can't do what we do without the funding, and we are humbled you have wanted to support our work.Closing Quote

What is the science behind this project?

Most deaths from cancer are caused by the disease spreading, so understanding the nuts and bolts of this process is vital.

Out of the billions of cancer cells that make up a tumour, some will break away, spread and grow into new tumours elsewhere in the body. This can have devastating consequences. Once the disease has spread, it is much more difficult to treat successfully.

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In order to spread, cancer cells break away from their neighbours and start to move. But this is not normal behaviour. Professor Frame wants to find out how and why cancer cells become able to do this - and how we can stop them.

Professor Frame is internationally recognised for her groundbreaking research on two molecules involved in cancer cell movement, called Src and FAK. She is looking in detail at how FAK interacts with other molecules, and how this drives cancer growth and spread. Her aim is to find new ways to block these complex interactions and develop treatments that could help tackle the problem of cancer spread.

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The difference you can make

Professor Frame's cutting-edge research is already revealing opportunities to develop new treatments designed to stop cancer spread. It might be possible to use these drugs as long-term treatments, so that even if cancer is not cured, it can be kept at bay for many years.

Drugs that target cancer spread could revolutionise treatment for cancer patients and help save many thousands of lives in the future.

Please help us raise £180,000 to support Professor Frame’s groundbreaking research for a year.

Edinburgh Cancer Research UK CentreCancer Research UK in Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre is a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Cancer Research UK & NHS Lothian. The Centre will set the pace for national and international progress in bowel, breast and ovarian cancers.

The Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre provides a dynamic environment to inspire and train the next generation of cancer researchers, including basic and translational scientists, pathologists, surgeons, physicians, psychologists and psychiatrists.

Visit the website to find out more about the Centre's work.