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Studying the evolution of lung neuroendocrine neoplasms to discover new treatment targets

Researcher
Dr Lynnette Fernandez-Cuesta
Project period
May 2021 - May 2024
Country
Research Institute
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
Cancer types
Lung cancer
Award amount
£246,182

Project aim

Dr Lynnette Fernandez-Cuesta and her team are investigating the progression from relatively harmless tumours to aggressive lung cancer to improve diagnosis and reveal new treatment targets.  

Hope for the future

Lung neuroendocrine neoplasms are a rare form of lung cancer that affects around 900 people each year in the UK. Depending on the type of lung neuroendocrine neoplasms, survival can range from 95 to 1% of people still alive 5 years after their diagnosis.

Dr Fernandez-Cuesta and her team are now trying to understand how the more aggressive types of lung neuroendocrine neoplasms might develop from the less aggressive ones. They hope this will lead to better diagnosis and new insights into how these cancers can be treated.

 

Meet the scientist

Outside the lab, Dr Lynnette Fernandez-Cuesta loves to practise classical dance and skying. Her favourite book is “The book of lost things” by John Connolly and her favourite film is “The never-ending story”.

The science

Lung neuroendocrine neoplasms originate from neuroendocrine cells - a sparsely distributed type of cell in the lung. Some lung neuroendocrine neoplasms, called pulmonary carcinoids, are slow growing and generally considered to be different from the more aggressive types of neuroendocrine lung carcinomas.

Dr Lynnette Fernandez-Cuesta and her team recently identified a group of pulmonary carcinoids that look a lot like the slow growing neuroendocrine lung carcinoids, but also share features with more aggressive neuroendocrine lung carcinomas. The team is now investigating whether this means that some carcinoids can develop into the aggressive types of neuroendocrine lung cancer. Better understanding these changes could lead to improved diagnosis and uncover new ways to treat this aggressive form of lung cancer.

[Basic science] provides the full explanation of a phenomenon. You need to know everything about your enemy to win the war, otherwise you can only win battles.
Dr Lynnette Fernandez-Cuesta

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