Public Release: 

Groundbreaking cancer research receives massive funding boost

Queen's University Belfast

LIFE-SAVING RESEARCH into bowel cancer in Northern Ireland has received a funding boost from Cancer Research UK.

Dr Sandra Van Schaeybroeck, at Queen's University Belfast, whose research aims to identify ways to increase survival from bowel cancer, has received a prestigious £688,000 Cancer Research UK Clinical Scientist Fellowship.

The award, which is one of only four fellowships awarded by Cancer Research UK to UK clinical investigators, renews Dr Schaeybroeck's current funding from the charity for another three years. Her research aims to develop new treatment strategies to improve bowel cancer patients' response to treatment and increase survival of particular groups of patients with bowel cancer.

Dr Van Schaeybroeck, from the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's, said: "Bowel cancer affects more that 35,000 people a year in the UK. A major barrier in the treatment of bowel cancer is drug resistance with more than half of patients not responding to standard chemotherapy treatment. I'm specifically aiming to identify the molecular reasons this happens in cells with specific gene faults. My ultimate goal is to increase survival in particular groups of patients with bowel cancer.

"I'm delighted to have received the renewal of the Cancer Research UK Clinician Scientist Fellowship. It is a major recognition of my research so far and the world-class cancer research ongoing at Queen's University.

Speaking about the selection process, Professor Philip Johnson, Chair of the clinical interview panel and a world leader in cancer trials at the University of Birmingham, said: "We saw oncologists, surgeons, haematologists, public health specialists and more. It was a tough decision, but we have found four great post-doc clinicians. These are people who see clinical problems that need solving, and then do research to find solutions. They have an exciting and rewarding career ahead of them."

Dr David Scott, Cancer Research UK's director of science funding, said: "The doctors receiving this funding are carrying out world-class research to develop new ways to diagnose and treat patients more effectively. We hope this funding will be an important boost to develop new approaches which we hope will ultimately increase survival from cancer."

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The funding is part of an important investment from Cancer Research UK, with the aim of identifying the next generation of clinical research leaders in the UK.

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