Targeting tumours with areas of low oxygen to make them less resistant to radiotherapy

Radiotherapy remains one of the most effective non-invasive treatments for solid cancers, including bowel cancer. However,
specific aspects of the biology of tumours, particularly the presence of low oxygen regions, remain a key limitation for its success.
In fact, low-oxygen biology is a well-known driver of resistance to radiotherapy and a marker of poor outcome in most cancers,
including bowel cancer.

Investigating how a protein called ‘ADAM10’ affects the growth of low oxygen tumours

It has been shown before that ADAM10 has an important role in tumour growth in several cancer types, with pilot data from our
group being the first to indicate that ADAM10 can be affected by low oxygen conditions, and can affect the growth of bowel
cancer cells in the lab.

In this project we propose to investigate how ADAM10 contributes to the growth of colorectal cancers in low oxygen conditions,
and whether targeting it can improve response to radiotherapy. This project has the potential to validate ADAM10 as a target in
bowel cancer that could be used in combination with radiotherapy.

Improving quality of life for patients with effective, personalised radiotherapy

Success in this work could lead to improved quality of life through more effective radiotherapy treatments with reduced side effects, as well as improving treatment outcomes for bowel cancer patients – especially those with lower oxygen levels present in their tumours, potentially saving lives.

The researchers

This PhD studentship will be supervised by Dr Isabel Monteiro Dos Santos Pires at the University of Hull