Research to stop cancer regrowth

La Trobe University PhD candidate, Cheree Fitzgibbon has embarked on a research project that aims to improve the efficacy of chemotherapy treatment.

hospital2-stdThe research will build on the work of Ms Fitzgibbon’s fellow student, Saleh Ihmaid, who has just completed research that looked for compounds which specifically inhibit the enzyme needed for double-strand DNA repair in cancer cells.

Ms Fitzgibbon will grow breast, colon, cervical and leukaemia cancer cells in the laboratory, then treat them with a variety of chemotherapy drugs both in the presence and absence of a few test inhibitors developed by Mr Ihmaid.

‘Some cancer cells are able to repair themselves after chemotherapy. If we can inhibit the enzymes that facilitate the repair of damaged cancer cells whilst maintaining current concentrations of the chemotherapy drugs, there will be a greater reduction in cancer cell numbers,’ said Ms Fitzgibbon.

‘Alternatively, lower concentrations of chemotherapy drugs could be administered to achieve the same results but possibly reduce side effects such as hair loss.’

Ms Fitzgibbon said that if the inhibitors are found to increase the effects of the chemotherapeutic agents, further investigation into the mechanism by which this is occurring will be carried out.

The research began in 2010 and Ms Fitzgibbon is aiming to complete the study by 2013.

According to the Cancer Council Australia, 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with one form of cancer before the age of 85.




What?          Ms Fitzgibbon and Mr Ihmaid will be conducting lab work with a culture flask as part of the research.

When?         11 am, Wednesday 13 April 2011

Where?         La Trobe University, Edwards Road Campus, Applied Science 1, Room 2.13.
                             (Car park 13, via Gate 6 off Sharon Street or car park 2 via Gate 5 off Sharon Street)

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