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A UL research team has made a significant breakthrough in the fight against colon cancer

23.05.2016
A UL research team has made a significant breakthrough in the fight against colon cancer

A UL research team has made a significant breakthrough in the fight against colon cancer.  Catríona Dowling, a PhD student in the Department of Life Sciences, GEMS and MSSI has conducted research that has advanced our ability to predict the survival outcome for colon cancer patients.

The research was supervised by MSSI member Dr Pat Kiely whose cancer research laboratory is based in the Graduate Entry Medical School (GEMS) and was done in collaboration with Professor Calvin Coffey at GEMS and the University Hospital Limerick. Caitríona’s research is focused on how a group of proteins called Protein Kinase Cs (PKCs) become dysregulated in colon cancer patients and the work has revealed how we may be able to use normal tissue from the same patient to predict how the disease will progress. Funded by the Irish Cancer Society, the research has also revealed a new way to target colon cancer which may influence the design of treatments in the future. These exciting findings have just been published in Oncotarget, a leading cancer research journal.

As part of this work Catríona spent time working with close collaborators at the University of California San Diego and she has received numerous awards including the Roche Gold Medal for excellence in Research at the University of Limerick and prizes at the Irish Epithelial Society and Irish Association for Cancer Research annual meetings. Catríona presented these findings at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting held in New Orleans. Dr Kiely's group in the GEMS are engaged in several colon cancer and breast cancer projects ranging from the most fundamental, where the development of a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating cell migration is the goal, to the very applied, where the identification of novel therapeutic targets is the desired endpoint