NCMM group leaders awarded funding from the Norwegian Cancer Society
Sandra Lopez-Aviles and Anthony Mathelier both awarded grants as part of Norwegian Cancer Society’s annual open call.
Anthony Mathelier and Sandra Lopez Aviles. Photo: Annabel Darby/NCMM
Two NCMM group leaders have been awarded funding to help further their research into cancer diagnoses and treatments.
Sandra Lopez-Aviles, Head of the Cell Cycle Regulations Group, and Anthony Mathelier, Head of the Computational Biology and Gene Regulation Group, were honoured at a special event organised by the Norwegian Cancer Society (Kreftforeningen) on Tuesday 30 October.
The funding has been allocated as part of an annual open call for project proposals by the Norwegian Cancer Society. In total, 160 million NOK has been granted for research projects that contribute to more knowledge, better diagnostic tools and more effective treatments for cancer.
Sandra Lopez-Aviles: Determining the functions of the Greatwall-ENSA-PP2A-B55 pathway in breast cancer
Dr Lopez-Aviles has been awarded 3,000,000 NOK, which will fund a researcher position for three years.
Dr Lopez-Aviles’ project aims to translate research findings in yeast to breast cancer cell lines, with the aim of developing new avenues for breast cancer treatment.
The project will look at how PP2A, a frequently altered gene in breast cancer, controls gene expression. This role might be particularly important in the context of a tumour, where cancer cells are frequently deprived for nutrients and oxygen. Under these conditions they develop specific properties in order to outgrow their neighbours and to escape the nutritional limitations.
By understanding the mechanisms of regulation, Dr Lopez-Aviles’ project will help to provide new avenues for the treatment of breast cancer.
Anthony Mathelier: Characterisation of cis-regulatory variations that dysregulate driver microRNAs in cancer
Dr Mathelier has been awarded 4,614,000 NOK over a period of 4 years. The funding will help to support two postdoctoral researcher positions.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment for cancer patients; each will respond differently to a different therapy. An element of personalisation is therefore required to enable cancer treatments to be as effective as possible. However, in order for a treatment to be truly personalised, a clinician must first understand their patient’s complete set of somatic genomic mutations.
Dr Mathelier’s project will focus on the development of computational resources and software that can assist in understanding and prioritising a patient’s personal variations in the DNA fragments that act as ‘switches’ for gene expression. Mutations occurring in these switches have recurrently been shown to be important for cancer initiation and development and can cause susceptibility to adverse drug reactions. By better understanding these factors, the capacity to improve treatment and the quality of outcomes for patients will be greatly enhanced.
About the Norwegian Cancer Society
The Norwegian Cancer Society is a national non-profit organisation that aims to improve the prevention and treatment of cancer. The charity contributes to targeted efforts in cancer information, prevention, advocacy, research, care, and international cooperation.