May 2021

Cancer in Young People

As a young adult, I often find it easy to detach myself from cancer risk statistics. After all, cancer diagnoses in young people (15-24 years) only account for 1% of all new cancer cases a year in the UK1. Even though this sounds like a small percentage, there are still around 2,500 new cancer cases in young people every year in the UK, that’s about 7 every day1. More than half of all young people’s cancers are diagnosed in those aged 20-24 years.  Risk Factors  Cancer risk in young people can be related to environmental factors, such as UV exposure, as well as certain infections, for example HPV (Human papillomavirus) infection and its link with cervical cancer2. There… Read More »Cancer in Young People

Paper Plane Proteins: Modelling Types of Genetic Mutations – Hands on Activity

Cancer is caused by genetic changes in our DNA. Whether it is DNA damage caused by UV rays, or an unlucky spelling mistake in our genes that we are born with, or have picked up over time.  This workshop aims to provide you with an understanding of what DNA is, its role in coding for genes and the impact that DNA changes have on proteins and therefore human disease, such as cancer.  Originally developed with high school students in mind, the content of the workshop should be complementary to a biology GCSE syllabus.  After an introduction to DNA, mutations and proteins, you are invited to make paper plane models alongside the demonstration. Each… Read More »Paper Plane Proteins: Modelling Types of Genetic Mutations – Hands on Activity

Origami DNA Activity: Collaboration with Black in Cancer

This month we have teamed up with the fantastic organisation Black in Cancer, who strengthen networks and highlight Black excellence in cancer research and medicine.  Dr Julia Morris, ambassador for Black in Cancer, has created a short video on how to create your very own origami DNA model at home.  All you need is a piece of A4 paper and a ruler! Check out the video below. During the video Julia tells us more about DNA changes in cancer and what can cause the genetic changes that lead to cancer development. We hope you enjoy the activity. Make sure to share pictures of your origami models… Read More »Origami DNA Activity: Collaboration with Black in Cancer

Live Talk | Living in Low Oxygen: Another Tool in Cancer’s Survival Kit | 18:30 (UK time), 18th May 2021.

Dr Isabel Pires – Cancer Biologist and Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Hull. LIVE streaming at YouTube 18:30 (UK time), 18 May 2021.  Did you know that there are areas in a tumour that have virtually no oxygen at all? How can cancer cells survive in these conditions? How does this impact on treatment? In this talk we will discuss how cancer cells can hijack the process by which the tissues in our body respond to low oxygen conditions, not only to survive in these conditions, but also to become even more aggressive and resistant to therapy. We will also hear… Read More »Live Talk | Living in Low Oxygen: Another Tool in Cancer’s Survival Kit | 18:30 (UK time), 18th May 2021.

LIVE Q&A | Creating a Living Biobank for Ovarian Cancer to Develop New Therapies | 18:30 (UK time), 10 May 2021.

Professor Stephen Taylor – Manchester Cancer Research Centre LIVE streaming at YouTube 18:30 (UK time), 10 May 2021. Summary: For 15 years, I studied the intricacies of how human cells divide (mitosis) in order to make new cells, how this goes wrong when cells become cancerous and how to sensitise cancer cells to anti-mitotic chemotherapy drugs. All of this work took place using cancer cell lines – cancer cells that keep dividing over very long periods of time in a flask – which has been very informative, but unfortunately they often do not reflect the original tumour or have limited associated… Read More »LIVE Q&A | Creating a Living Biobank for Ovarian Cancer to Develop New Therapies | 18:30 (UK time), 10 May 2021.

Fighting Cancer with Protons

As a physicist, the things I learned at university were mostly along the lines of Maxwell’s equations, special relativity, Fourier transforms, quantum mechanics, and numerical methods. Five years ago I certainly didn’t envision myself working in cancer science, let alone be applying some of what I learned at university to cancer research.    Although I’ve barely stepped foot in a lab, I don’t have a white lab coat, and I haven’t looked down a microscope since GCSE biology, I’m now confident I can call myself a cancer researcher. Of course, it helps to be working in a multi-disciplinary group, with a team of supervisors made up of expert biologists, engineers, chemists and clinicians.     But as I’ve learned, physics also provides a crucial role in cancer science in many forms. For me,… Read More »Fighting Cancer with Protons