PhD Studentship Grant – Oral Cancer Stem Cells

Grant Type PhD Studentship
Research Title Stem Cell Patterns and the Growth and Therapy of Head and Neck Cancers
Grant Awarded To H.E. Emrich
Department Stem Cell Science
Institution Queen Mary University of London   
Grant Start Date 01/03/2010
Grant Duration 36 months + 3 month supplement
Total Amount Awarded £63,765
Abstract There is now evidence that tumours consist of different populations of cancer cells.  Only a minority of cells in the tumour has the ability to divide indefinitely, producing more and more cancer cells. These cells are called “cancer stem cells”. Sometimes these cells can leave the primary tumour and initiate new tumours in other parts of the body. Looking at cancer stem cells, the PhD project focuses on comparison of oral tumours that have formed neck lymph node metastases with tumours that have not metastasised. Pinpointing the fundamental differences between tumours that are able to spread in the body and tumours that are not able to do so could hugely improve cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

PhD Studentship Grant – Psychological Effects in Head and Neck Surgery

Grant Type PhD Studentship
Research Title Psychological and Cultural Predictors of Treatment Outcome and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients
Grant Awarded To F.S. Shiraz
Department Centre for Psychiatry
Institution Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Grant Start Date 01/08/2010
Grant Duration 36 months
Total Amount Awarded £61,396
Abstract This PhD studentship will consist of a cross-sectional and short term follow up study of individuals undergoing head and neck surgery as a result of a) cancer (particularly head and neck cancer), (b) trauma related to violence, (c) trauma unrelated to violence. This PhD focuses on the effect of spouse/family response and past history of depression / anxiety on treatment outcome.

PhD Studentship Grant – Psychological Effects in Head and Neck Surgery

Grant Type PhD Studentship
Research Title Psychological and Cultural Predictors of Treatment Outcome and Quality of Life in Cancer Patients
Grant Awarded To E.R. Ratz
Department Centre for Psychiatry
Institution Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine
Grant Start Date 01/08/2010
Grant Duration 36 months
Total Amount Awarded £61,396
Abstract This PhD studentship will consist of a cross-sectional and short term follow up study of individuals undergoing head and neck surgery as a result of a) cancer (particularly head and neck cancer), (b) trauma related to violence, (c) trauma unrelated to violence.  This PhD will focuseon the predictors of outcome in cases of trauma associated with violence compared to those who have similar surgery for cancer. This will focus particularly on characteristics of victims and perpetrators of violence.

Joint FSRF/BAOMS Research Fellowship Grant – Molecular Events in Metastatic Oral Cancer

Grant Type Research Fellowship
Research Title The Molecular Determinants of Extra capsular Spread in Metastic Head and Neck Cancer
Grant Awarded To J.D. Dhanda
Department Institute of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine   
Institution University of Liverpool   
Grant Start Date 01/04/2011
Grant Duration 12 months
Total Amount Awarded £23,000.30
Abstract The aim of this PhD project is to validate initial exploratory data and determine important molecular events in the development extracapsular spread (ECS), the most biologically aggressive metastatic phenotype in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC).  Our hypothesis is that molecular events in key pathways from primary site tissue are associated with this aggressive metastatic phenotype.  The focus will be on the detailed analysis of data obtained from microarray techniques. These have identified an 8-gene signature for ECS with 78% sensitivity & 86% specificity. Power analysis showed that 90% of all = twofold differences in gene expression between node negative & ECS cases were significant. Affected pathways are implicated in invasion and metastasis. Analysis will include validation of these findings using single gene assays, immunohistochemistry using tissue microarrays and functional studies investigating motility and invasion through organotypic modelling. The subsequent clinical value of this will be to understand the underlying biological mechanisms with potential for biomarker discovery in ECS.

PhD Studentship Grant – Oral Cancer Detection Techniques

Grant Type PhD Studentship 
Research Title Optimisation of a Quantitative Malignancy Index Diagnostic System for Oral Cancer Detection and Tumour Margin Assessment
Grant Awarded To F.Q. Qadir
Department Clinical and Diagnostic Oral Services
Institution Queen Mary University of London
Grant Start Date 01/09/2012
Grant Duration 36 months
Total Amount Awarded £65,993 
Abstract Mouth cancer diagnosis is currently based on subjective visual examination of mouth tissues under the light microscope by pathologists. Most patients with oral premalignancy will never develop cancer but it is notoriously difficult to identify early signs of cancer development with current techniques. To overcome this problem, we have invented a new gene quantification method which can detect the presence of cancer cells by measuring the levels of cancer-causing genes in the tissue in biopsy samples. We aim to improve this new cancer diagnostic method further by making it more sensitive, reliable, fast and cost effective. This study involved testing 50 patients’ oral tissue samples as a proof of principle investigation to validate the diagnostic system for clinical use in the future. Such cancer diagnostic tests will provide rapid cancer diagnostic results (within hours) which helps the treating clinician to decide the most appropriate treatment strategy that is best suited for the patient which will eventually leave to reduced morbidity and mortality.

Joint FSRF/BAOMS Research Fellowship Grant – Predictive Factors for Cancerous Changes in Oral Lesions

Grant Type Research Fellowship
Research Title Molecular and Clinical Determinants of Malignant Progression in Oral Dysplasia
Grant Awarded To M.H. Ho
Department Institute of Molecular and Clinical Cancer Medicine
Institution University of Liverpool
Grant Start Date 01/08/2013
Grant Duration 12 months
Total Amount Awarded £21,500
Abstract Mouth cancer is common worldwide and increasing in the UK. Some patients have abnormal white or red patches in the mouth which are at risk of becoming cancerous. We have already noticed that non-smokers with these patches are, surprisingly, at much higher risk than heavy smokers. In this project we aim to identify the clinical and molecular factors that might explain and predict cancerous changes. With this information we hope to design studies to help us choose between laser surgery, long-term review and discharge as the best & safest way to care for each patient. 
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