UK research centre uncovers solution to three cancers - GulfToday

UK research centre uncovers solution to three cancers


Downward said his presentation was to update the people responsible for the laboratory such as the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) leadership.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

A multi-awarded biomedical research institute in the UK, fully funded by Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, has uncovered the most appropriate solution so far against three types of cancer.

Francis Crick Institute (FCI) Associate Research director Prof. Julian Downward presented his most recent discovery of immunotherapy against the RAS oncogene through his “Addressing Cancer Research Outcomes of the Sharjah Research Laboratory-UK” on Wednesday. This gives hope to patients suffering from cancer of the lungs, colorectum and pancreas.

Downward, fascinated by and deeply interested in cancer since it has become a global challenge with not only one but over 2,000 types, said his presentation was to update the people responsible for the laboratory such as the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) leadership.

He was thankful he also presented his most recent findings before the University of Sharjah (UoS)-College of Medicine, UoS-Research Institute of Medical & Health Sciences (RIMHS) academics and students.

FCI was named after British molecular biologist/biophysicist/neuroscientist Francis Crick who co-discovered the double helix structure of the DNA with American molecular biologist/geneticist/zoologist James Watson in 1953. It was established in 2010 by several organisations such as Cancer Research UK, Imperial College of London and King’s College of London.

Opened in 2016, it was on April 8, 2017 when Sheikh Sultan and Sheikha Jawaher inaugurated the FCI-Sharjah Research  Laboratory with a Dhs2.3 million (500,000 British pounds) fund to support the research projects of 1,250 leading scientists for the better understanding of human diseases and continuing search for new pathways leading to more improved treatments against non-communicable diseases, specifically cancer.

Interviewed, FoCP-Board of Trustees chairperson Sawsan Jafar said Sheikha Jawaher visited FCI in 2016.

She said international tie-ups are indispensable since NCDs and cancer have become a plague worldwide that can affect anyone.

In the UAE alone, 4,500 new cases are recorded each year, while the country’s leaders are bent to reduce these numbers by 18 per cent by 2021.

Downward, a scientist for nearly 40 years and a PhD Biochemistry holder told Gulf Today: “They visited us. The Highness saw me at my laboratory.”

The FCI-Sharjah Research Laboratory, through Cancer Research UK, was set up thereafter. It accelerated Downwards’ 20-year RAS oncogene research project.

Downward said FCI encourages the promotion and development of new talents in the fields of Medicine and Sciences such as chemists, physicists, mathematicians, immunologists, and people in the area of infectious diseases. He looks forward to faculty/students exchange programmes with the UoS.

On his most recent findings on the immunotherapy and the RAS oncogene, Downward spoke specifically on that which attacks the G12 amino acid (protein) which mutates into cancer affecting the lungs, colon and pancreas.

Interviewed, he said that in his UK observational data, 30,000 lung cancer patients, 50,000 colorectal cancer patients and 10,000 pancreatic cancer patients carry this type of RAS oncogene.

“The numbers for pancreatic cancer is small but the (RAS oncogene in this case) is very aggressive.”

Downward said other researches have resulted in other treatments and a combination of drugs against the RAS oncogene.

He was positive that his immunotherapy will both heighten the immune system and effectively shrink or stop the continuous growth of the RAS oncogenes.

However, Downward also noted that the development of new immunotherapy medications may take at least a decade, the average number of years, treatments are designed and gets approved after a set of clinical trials in animals and among men.

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