Our top 5 cancer research breakthroughs of 2022

15th December 2022

2022 has likely been your first full year back to ‘normal’ since the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s no different for cancer researchers. Back into full swing in the lab, Worldwide Cancer Research scientists have been busy making exciting new discoveries about cancer. Here are the top five cancer research breakthroughs made by our scientists in 2022.

1. Stopping the spread of breast cancer

Our scientists in Italy discovered a previously unknown way that breast cancer cells survive treatment. They found that breast cancer cells hiding in places like the lungs seem to rely on specific antioxidants to survive there. This could be a new way to wipe out breast cancer cells that have escaped treatment.

Click here to read more about this incredible discovery, or find out what other ground-breaking work we're funding.

Sirio Dupont Dr Sirio Dupont, Worldwide Cancer Research scientist
Our hope is that these findings can be translated into a real drug treatment that can kill “sleeping” cancer cells before they awake into full-blown metastases.

2. Stool samples can reveal pancreatic cancer sooner

Our researchers in Spain, led by Dr Núria Malats, have found a new way to spot if someone is at higher risk of pancreatic cancer, and even diagnose patients at an early stage of the disease. Specific microorganisms in a stool sample could signal that there is a problem in a rapid, non-invasive, and affordable way.

Read the full story here, or find out what else our scientists have discovered about pancreatic cancer this year.

Dr Helen Rippon, Chief Executive, Worldwide Cancer Research
This new breakthrough builds on the growing evidence that the microbiome is linked to the development of cancer. Early detection and diagnosis are just as important an approach to starting new cancer cures as developing treatments.

Become a Curestarter today and join us in supporting pioneering cancer research breakthroughs like these in 2023.

3. Targeting cancer’s energy supply

Our scientists in Germany discovered they could prevent head and neck cancer spreading by stopping it getting the extra energy it needs to do so. If they prevented a change happening in the RNA of mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell), the cancer didn’t spread as much.

Click here to learn more about this breakthrough, or learn how your donations are used to start cancer cures.

Frye Dr Michaela Frye, Worldwide Cancer Research scientist
The funding from Worldwide Cancer Research helped us to get a step closer to succeeding in fighting cancer metastasis, the leading cause of cancer death.

4. Making radiotherapy work for more patients

Our researchers in Spain made a breakthrough that could help treat people with cancer that has spread to the brain. In the future, a blood test could reveal if patients will respond to radiotherapy or if the cancer will resist it, then a drug called a RAGE inhibitor could make radiotherapy work better for those that would resist it.

Learn more about this important discovery, or read Anne and Cathrin's personal story.

Dr Manuel Valiente, Worldwide Cancer Research scientist
We are very excited about the findings of this study and specifically the drug we have found. We really hope that what we have discovered will lead to a new way to personalise the use of radiotherapy that maximises the benefits for each patient.

5. Engineering immune cells to hunt down cancer

Our researchers in Italy have made a breakthrough that could lead to better, more effective immunotherapy options for cancer patients. They discovered how to engineer a specific type of immune cell to target and kill cancer cells, then boost its cancer-killing ability using a drug delivered with nanotechnology.

Find out the full story, or see how we've contributed to the discovery of new immunotherapies.

Casorati Dr Giulia Casorati, Worldwide Cancer Research scientist
We hope we have laid the foundations for an innovative approach of adoptive cell therapy of cancer, hopefully more efficient than the current ones.

Breakthroughs of the future: 2023!

And finally, we were delighted to commit to funding £5.3 million to 25 new research projects that will start in 2023! It is incredibly important to continue supporting ground-breaking discovery cancer research if we hope to end the suffering caused by cancer.

Breakthroughs like these are vital if we hope to end the suffering caused by cancer. Unfortunately, funding for discovery research has dropped by ~25% in recent years.

Become a Curestarter today and you can help start new cancer cures.


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