Dr Kate Mahon, Director of Medical Oncology at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, specialises in appendiceal cancer. Her team are using a new technology called transcriptomics to better understand the disease and hopefully identify new treatments.
While genomics looks at the genes, transcriptomics explores what is being expressed from those genes. Dr Mahon shares, “You need to know which genes are being active if you are looking for a drug to target a gene. This new technology will help us build a better understanding of cancer which can lead to better treatments and outcomes for patients.”
“For people who can’t have surgery, appendiceal cancer is often treated with colon cancer treatment, but it tends not to respond as well or for as long. This means it often has a much poorer prognosis,” says Dr Mahon.
Using the cancerous tissue removed from surgical patients, Dr Mahon and her team are now able to use specific biomarkers that can identify what the different cells are, and what their function is. Through this technology, Dr Mahon and her team can understand the microenvironment surrounding the cancer, and develop a better understanding of what will treat the disease more effectively.
“The ultimate goal of this research is to find new drugs specialised to treat cancer of the appendix. This is a really new technology being used to study appendiceal cancer so it’s pretty exciting. Donations are crucial because they give us the ability to use this new technology that is really expensive but could make a huge difference in the lives of patients. I’m so grateful to our donors who make this possible.”