Research funding could advance cancer treatment

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Cancer treatment could be advanced as a result of research funding awarded to the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).

UWS School of Computing Engineering and Physical Sciences are developing breakthrough investigations into advanced radiation treatment technique, after receiving funding from Cancer Research UK RadNet - the charity's radiation research network.

It is hoped that the research conducted by UWS will enable clinicians to accurately measure hypoxia within tumors - a state in which the dissolved oxygen concentration is lower than the equivalent healthy tissue. Most tumors are significantly hypoxic and while knowledge of the state of hypoxia within a patient's tumor would be invaluable to clinicians and oncologists, there is currently no non-invasive method of measuring this.

UWS Lead researcher Dr David O'Donnell said: "We are incredibly grateful to receive the funding award from Cancer Research UK, which will allow us to push forward and gain insight into more advanced radiation treatment methods.

"I look forward to working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre, University of Glasgow and the Christie Hospital in Manchester."

The UWS-led research would help clinicians see the progress of cancer tumor treatment in real time, allowing them to quickly adapt a patient's treatment plan, according to the hypoxia measurement, which would accurately determine how a tumor is reacting to radiation therapy.

This innovative research aims to demonstrate that by measuring radiation emitted as a result of nuclear reactions taking place within a patient's body, when undergoing proton beam therapy, the level of dissolved oxygen can be measured with high precision.

I'm thrilled that UWS has the opportunity to carry out such important and innovative research which will look at the potential for measuring hypoxia within cancerous tumors, using external proton beam therapy.

UWS has a broad range of internationally renowned research expertise, and I am incredibly proud that we are driving forward solutions to some of the world's most urgent issues."

Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS

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