Researchers on mission to improve cancer outcomes

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Three University of Newcastle researchers have been awarded 2022 Early Career Fellowships by the Cancer Institute NSW. Dr Rebecca Wyse, Dr Yuchen Feng and Dr Heather Murray will each receive a $600,000 scholarship to advance projects designed to improve treatment and outcomes for cancer patients.

Cancer research

Dr Yuchen Feng: Exploring long noncoding RNA vulnerabilities of metabolism for cancer treatment

Australia has one of the highest rates of bowel cancer (also known as colorectal cancer) in the world. Patients with late-stage bowel cancer are often treated with anti-cancer drugs, but most succumb to the disease given cells’ inherent resistance to drug treatment.

Dr Feng and team have discovered mechanisms essential for fueling cancer cells and will investigate whether blocking these power lines is useful for cancer treatment. This will potentially lead to novel approaches for the treatment of bowel cancer and may benefit patients with other types of cancers that also rely on the mechanisms.

Dr Heather Murray: Targeting the spliceosome as a novel approach for acute myeloid leukaemia therapy

Each year in Australia, around 900 people are diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), with only   one in four surviving five years past their diagnosis. High-dose chemotherapy achieves remission in just 60 per cent of patients, and of those, the majority will experience a relapse.

Dr Murray's team has used sophisticated molecular techniques to measure the activity of proteins in AML patients, which has discovered a number of proteins that are activated in AML cells but not in healthy control cells. The team has also identified existing drugs that can target these proteins, which this project will test for effectiveness in treating AML in preclinical studies.

Dr Rebecca Wyse: The effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and acceptability of a digital health intervention to support breast cancer patients prepare for and recover from surgery: A randomised controlled trial

Dr Wyse will investigate the effectiveness of ‘RecoverEsupport’ - a purpose-built digital health intervention that supports patients to adhere to the patient-managed components of the ‘Enhanced Recovery From Surgery’ (ERAS) recommendations.

Evidence shows compliance with ERAS recommendations can decrease length of stay in hospital and reduce post-surgical complications.  If effective, the intervention could be adapted to provide support for patients undergoing the millions of surgical procedures undertaken in Australia each yea

For more information about the 2022 Cancer Institute NSW fellowship grants, visit the Institute's website.

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