Saving Faces funds PhD studentships and Clinical Fellowships in psychological aspects, stem cell research and molecular biology.
The charity’s first postgraduate student, Joanne Archer, successfully completed her PhD. Jo’s complex multidisciplinary project looked at the links between cancer, inflammation and depression and demonstrated that both psychosocial and inflammatory factors are important in mood and quality of life after cancer treatment. Her most striking finding was that depressive symptoms have a greater detrimental effect on patients’ quality of life than any physical symptom or loss of function.
We received £75,000 from the Welton Foundation which is being used to fund the first year of four new PhD studentships.
The areas of research to be funded are:
• Stem cell patterns and the growth and therapy of head and neck cancer
This study will characterize differences in stem cell properties between individual tumours and correlate such differences with response to treatment. This valuable information will enable the development of tests to predict the outcome of treatment and will also aid in the development of new therapeutic strategies for specifically targeting cancer stem cells in head and neck cancers.
• The response of patients’ spouses or partners to cancer and violent and non-violent trauma
The aim of these projects is to create a psychological treatment programme for patients undergoing head and neck surgery for cancer and trauma, tailored to individual patient’s needs at different stages of their treatment. Emmylou Rahtz and Farah Shiraz have been awarded the 2 studentships and under the guidance of Ania Korzan are already undertaking a feasibility study and literature reviews.
• Optimisation of a quantitative malignancy index diagnostic system for oral cancer detection and tumour margin assessment
This study aims to develop a sensitive, reliable and fast cancer diagnostic test for mouth cancer by using a new gene quantification method which can detect the presence of cancer cells by measuring the levels of cancer-causing genes in tissue biopsy samples. A reliable diagnostic test would enable clinicians to give appropriate tailored treatment which will make a real difference to patients.
The students are currently writing a short article on their experiences so far, so watch this space..........
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