25th October 2017
What first inspired you to work in the field of blood cancer research?
In 2007 I joined the Cancer Research Clinical Centre at the University of Southampton to work on a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL) project. Seven years later I was appointed as a Lecturer at Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University London, and in 2016 I was lucky enough to be granted a John Goldman Fellowship from Leuka - this has allowed me to focus my research on the development and progression of certain types of blood cancer.
I now specifically understand the basic biology of cancer cells and how this might help us find new treatment options for patients.
What challenges have you overcome and what are your aspirations for 2017 onward?
There is growing pressure on researchers and clinicians to distinguish between aggressive blood cancers that need immediate clinical intervention and non-aggressive cancers where the treatment may be more harmful to the patient than the cancer itself. Despite recent advances in drug development, many blood cancers remain incurable and plagued with inevitable relapse or transformation into a highly aggressive form.
Over the years I have been particularly focusing on a T and B-lymphoma and leukaemia. The Fellowship has helped me to set up a research group in the Barts Cancers Institute so that I can ultimately improve the successful treatment of these blood cancers.
To what extent has your research been hampered by a lack of funding?
Funding is paramount for research to progress and continue. A lack of funding from research bodies highlights the growing role of charities such as Leuka in supporting cutting edge research in the UK. Support for early career research is hard to come by, so it is vital that Leuka continues to fund further exploration into blood cancer.
Have you encountered any dramatic moments within your field of research?
The last few years have seen exciting changes in the treatment of some blood cancers. There are exciting new drugs that are showing enormous potential. Certain drug treatments can make cancer cells leave tissue sites and subsequently die out in our blood. This is a step towards targeted personalised therapies where we will be able to tailor treatment with a combination of drugs designed specifically for the patient.
Finally, tell us a little bit about yourself.
In a nutshell, I'm a scientist who loves riding scooters!