Developing a new treatment for stomach cancer

Research Opportunity
Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Department
Paediatrics
Location
Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Professor Phil Sutton phil.sutton@mcri.edu.au Personal web page
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Doctor Sohinee Sarkar sohinee.sarkar@mcri.edu.au

Summary Key questions to be addressed by this project include 1) how this gene (and its polymorphism) make some people susceptible to stomach cancer and 2) the mechanism by which drugs that target the product of this gene would protect against cancer.

Project Details

Infection with the cancer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori starts in childhood and lasts for life. This infection causes a chronic inflammation (gastritis) that can result in stomach cancer, globally the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related death. We have identified a genetic variant (a polymorphism) that increases the susceptibility of some people to this cancer. Individuals who have this polymorphism are five times more likely to get stomach cancer when infected with H. pylori, and this gene is highly expressed in cancer biopsies. Drugs against this gene target are already clinically available, meaning this discovery has the potential for a completely new treatment for stomach cancer. Stomach cancers arise as a result of severe inflammation driven by H. pylori mediated activation of the immune system, so this effect is likely due to genetic regulation of the immune cell response to bacterial stimulation.     AIMS: Key questions to be addressed by this project include 1) how this gene (and its polymorphism) make some people susceptible to stomach cancer and 2) the mechanism by which drugs that target the product of this gene would protect against cancer.    APPROACH: Cell lines will be genetically modified with the latest genome editing technology and then stimulated with H. pylori. The immune response will then be quantified by measuring the cytokine response by ELISA. This will show how this gene affects the inflammatory response of human cells to these cancer-causing bacteria. We have already identified drugs that reduce gastritis in mouse models. This project will examine the mechanism by which these drugs work to protect against disease-causing gastritis. Such information is critical for designing improved drugs that might be used for the prevention or treatment of cancer.



Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine



Research Opportunities

Honours, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

Department

Paediatrics

Research Node

Royal Children’s Hospital/Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

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