Lancaster University

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Pioneering cancer research

03/05/2002 15:35:29

Scientists at Lancaster University have received funding from a local cancer research charity for two new pieces of research. The North West Cancer Research Fund has awarded £201,660 for projects that will take place in the department of Biological Sciences.

Both projects will examine how cells react to agents that damage their DNA. They will build on knowledge and expertise that already exist in environmental biology and biomedical science in the university.

Dr Fiona Benson receives £107,197 for a project on the repair process that cells use to rectify DNA damage which is induced by a number of agents known to cause cancer. Key proteins in the process will be examined to characterise the process and identify their role in cancer causation and treatment.

Dr Frank Martin and Professor Trevor McMillan will study whether female hormones or contaminants possessing hormonal activity can influence susceptibility to environmental carcinogens that have been linked to breast cancer. Preliminary work by this group has shown that oestrogens enhance the DNA damaging effects of carcinogens in target breast cells. This project will examine the scale of the problem and the mechanism by which it occurs to suggest rational means by which it can be counteracted. Their award is for £94,463.

Professor Trevor McMillan said: " With these awards the North West Cancer Research Fund has given the Biological Sciences department over £750,000 over the last five years.

"The newly funded projects promise to make major contributions to understanding the causes of cancer and the way it responds to treatments."