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Using worms to improve the use of chemotherapy

  • Researcher: Professor Anton Gartner
  • Institution: University of Dundee, Scotland, UK
  • Award Amount: £200,168 for 2 years from 1st January 2018
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Using worms to improve the use of chemotherapy
Cisplatin is a widely used chemotherapy drug that works by damaging the DNA of cells to the extent that the cell cannot repair itself and dies. However, even after successful treatment, cancers often return because some of the cancer cells are able to repair the damage caused by cisplatin and survive. Professor Anton Gartner and his team at Dundee University are trying to identify the molecular machinery that cells use to repair damage caused by cisplatin. By doing this they hope it will lead to better ways to identify patients that would benefit the most from the drug.

Professor Gartner is using the microscopic nematode worm (C. elegans) to test how cisplatin interacts with DNA and what happens once damage is induced. These worms are a useful model because they contain only around 1000 cells and their genetics are very well understood. This means the team can easily study the changes that occur to DNA following cisplatin in a whole organism.
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