June 2011. Saving Faces is funding four PhD studentships. They will be carrying out innovative projects in collaboration with Professor Ian Mackenzie, Professor of Stem Cell Science, Professor Ania Korszun, Professor of Psychiatry and Education who will supervise 2 students and Dr Ahmad Waseem, Reader in Oral Biology.
The areas of research are:
Stem cell patterns and the growth and therapy of head and neck cancer.
Stem cells are the cells in a tumour that are capable of unlimited growth and it seems clear that it is essential to target these cells for successful treatment. This study will characterize differences in stem cell properties between individual tumours and correlate such differences with response to treatment. This valuable information will enable the development of tests to predict the outcome of treatment and will also aid in the development of new therapeutic strategies for specifically targeting cancer stem cells in head and neck cancers.
The response of patients’ spouses or partners to cancer and violent and non-violent trauma.
In order to develop a range of effective interventions, it is important to understand more fully the needs of our patients and to identify key predictors of psychological distress and it is clear that the response of patients’ spouses or partners to their condition is likely to have a significant effect. The aim of this project is to create a psychological treatment programme for patients undergoing head and neck surgery for cancer and trauma, tailored to individual patient’s needs at different stages of their treatment.
Optimisation of a quantitative malignancy index diagnostic system for oral cancer detection and tumour margin assessment.
This study aims to develop a sensitive, reliable and fast cancer diagnostic test for mouth cancer by using a new gene quantification method which can detect the presence of cancer cells by measuring the levels of cancer-causing genes in tissue biopsy samples. Mouth cancer affects over 5,500 people every year in the UK and has higher death rates than cancers of the colon, breast, vulva or melanoma. The number of mouth cancer cases has increased significantly (>20%) over the last decade especially in younger adults for both sexes. Despite improvements in chemotherapy and surgical techniques, ~50% of mouth cancer patients still die from the disease partly due to incomplete removal of cancer cells during surgical treatment. A reliable diagnostic test would enable clinicians to give appropriate tailored treatment which will make a real difference to patients.
From the above you will see that we will be supporting important areas of research into facial cancer and trauma, all of which have an undoubted clinical impact;
- Basic scientific research at the molecular level
- Research into the psychological effects of living with the consequences of these conditions and the development of tailored support programmes.
- The development of diagnostic tests and targeted treatment strategies