Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dr Who meets cancer experts

Doctor Who star David Tennant, in his new role as patron of the Association of International Cancer Research (AICR), has learned more about world-leading genetic research at Cardiff University. David Tennant met one of charity’s newest fellows, Dr Andrew Tee from the School of Medicine Institute of Medical Genetics.Dr Tee was awarded £750,000 from the charity to develop his research at the Institute. The charity funds many cancer research projects worldwide and aims to support promising young scientists who are ready to form their own research teams.The research goal of Dr Tee’s newly established lab at Cardiff is to uncover new drug targets for the treatment of tuberous sclerosis. “We are carrying out basic research to better understand the complex signals that are involved in the growth of tumours in this serious genetic disease,” he said.The results of previous laboratory research carried out by Dr Tee, when working as a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, led to the initiation of a clinical trial in patients with tuberous sclerosis by researchers at the Institute. The early results look very encouraging. “One year into the trial, we are seeing a marked reduction in the size of the kidney tumours that we are treating in patients with tuberous sclerosis” said Professor Julian Sampson, head of the Institute of Medical Genetics.The team hope that their combined expertise in genetic and cancer biology will lead to further clinical trials for previously untreatable familial tumours. Dr Tee said: “I was pleased to meet with David Tennant, our progress would not be possible if it where not for the support of independent charities such as AICR.” David Tennant said: “I know only too well that cancer strikes without regard to age or race, country or creed, fame or fortune. I believe AICR’s approach to funding research, wherever in the world it is taking place, is at the forefront of the battle to bring cancer under control and I am proud to have been asked to become a patron.”The Institute of Medical Genetics is a winner in this year’s Queen’s Anniversary Prizes , which recognise world class levels of excellence in UK Higher Education.

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