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This research project aims to investigate how oesophageal cancer develops. The oesophagus or 'foodpipe' is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. The number of people getting Oesophageal cancer is on the increase but we still don't know how it develops. Through my research to date I have shown that acid reflux or 'heartburn' plays an important part in this process. Looking at the effects on proteins in the cell I have shown that it specifically affects the Golgi which is part of the cell responsible for making the proteins in your cell. Disrupting the Golgi leads to increased release of in a protein called GOLPH2 out of the cell. I will determine if GOLPH2 plays a role in development of oesophageal cancer. I will look to see if GOLPH2 released from the cell in these patients can be detected in the bloodstream so we can develop a blood test. This blood test will be used as an easy way to diagnose people with oesophageal cancer. If caught early enough patients have a much better chance of being cured.
The mortality rate of oesophageal cancer is greater than 85%, as patients generally present when their disease is quite advanced and incurable. Early detection of oesophageal cancer is vital in order to reduce the mortality rate. This project aims to characterise a protein called GOLPH2 which may play a role in oesophageal cancer progression. As GOLPH2 is a protein which is released by oesophageal cancer cells into the patient's blood stream, it may represent a potential way of detecting oesophageal cancer through a simple blood test.
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