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Seedcorn funding for pancreatic cancer research

16 March 2020

Profile Photo of Ross Collins

There are over 10,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed in the UK each year. New funding will enable the Medicines Discovery Institute to investigate potential new therapies for this deadly disease.

Dr Ross Collins from Cardiff University has received a Seedcorn award of £3,000 to investigate the role of LIMK in cancer, with a particular interest in the role of this protein in pancreatic cancer.

“The LIMK protein is involved in many cellular functions and has been implicated in disease. I have been working on a project at the Medicines Discovery Institute looking at targeting LIMK in fragile X syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with intellectual disability.

“My research background is in cancer metastasis, so I wanted to use my experience and apply it to LIMK biology and investigate how this protein may be involved in the progression of cancer. I will specifically be looking at pancreatic cancer, as this cancer has a high unmet need for improved treatments.”

Dr Collins’ research aims to expand research that is currently underway at the Institute to new disease models. The Medicines Discovery Institute is investigating the impacts of LIMK inhibitors in fragile X syndrome, and these drugs targets could have potential uses in cancer.

“At the Medicines Discovery Institute, we target areas of unmet clinical need and find new and innovative new therapeutic approaches. 1% of people with pancreatic cancer survive 10 years or longer once they are diagnosed, so any treatment that could prolong survival would be a great benefit to patients.

“We hope that by targeting LIMK, we will be able to influence cancer cell characteristics such as reducing cellular growth and invasion.

“This funding will allow me to establish LIMK expression levels in cancer cells, assess the functional implications of LIMK inhibition and determine any therapeutic potential of LIMK in cancer. This will hopefully lay the foundation for development of new therapies in the future for cancers like pancreatic cancer,” added Dr Collins.

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