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Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second most common cancer in Ireland with 2,271 patients diagnosed in 2009, as indicated by the Irish Cancer Society. Also, CRC is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Ireland. In order for a tumour to grow beyond 2 mm, it must form its own blood supply. A drug named 11B has previously been found by my supervisors through a drug screen and shown to prevent the growth of new blood vessels in zebrafish and reduce tumour size in mouse models. My project aims to test drugs which are very similar to, but more active than 11B and determine whether they are efficient at preventing blood vessel development in zebrafish and mice and whether they can prevent tumour tissue from growing and/or releasing factors which allow the tumour to grow. The focus of this research is to optimise the anti-cancer capacity of these new 11B drugs so that they improve upon the existing drugs available to CRC patients. In essence, this research aims to broaden treatment options for patients suffering from CRC.
The formation of new blood vessels by tumours is a vital process which allows them to grow and survive. As such, tumour blood vessels represent an attractive drug target. This project aims to test a new class of drugs targeting these blood vessels which may be used to treat colorectal cancer patients. These new drugs will be specifically tailored so they provide improved activity compared to existing drugs available for this group of patients.
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