Institute of Genetics and Cancer

News 2022

An archive of Institute News from 2022

Transcriptomic profiling may identify patients with breast cancer who can safely omit radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery

Patients with invasive breast cancer that had low scores on an investigational gene molecular signature had similar rates of local recurrence whether or not they received adjuvant radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery: December 2022

Identification of a signalling axis associated with immune suppression and poor prognosis in pancreatic cancer

Graphical summary of a proposed mechanism through which FAK-IL6 signalling amplifies PD-L2 expression in PDAC
Using animal modelling and human transcriptomic datasets, Edinburgh researchers demonstrated that FAK-IL6 signalling amplifies pathways associated with immune suppression and poor patient prognosis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

ecDNA copy number is key to high-level oncogene expression, new research shows

A recent study has demonstrated that, contrary to recent reports, the transcriptional output of oncogenes carried on extrachromosomal DNA in glioblastoma stem cells is driven by the copy number of the ecDNA, rather than their spatial localization into transcriptional hubs: December 2022

Longest follow-up of patients with early breast cancer shows radiotherapy does not improve survival after 30 years

Radiotherapy after breast conserving surgery in conjunction with chemotherapy or tamoxifen to treat early breast cancer reduces the risk of the disease returning in the same breast in the next ten years but makes little difference to that risk thereafter. Nor does it improve overall survival after 30 years.

Awards for team behind study using Cell-free DNA to monitor Head and Neck Cancer

Dr Robert Wescott presenting at the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists
Poster and presentation awards to team behind a recent study highlighting the use of digital droplet PCR to monitor HPV in cell-free DNA from patients with head and neck cancer, led by Professor Tim Aitman and Mr Iain Nixon

Protein insights may boost lung cancer treatment

A 3D rendering of cancer cells
Scientists at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer investigating the mechanics of the early stages of lung cancer have identified a new potential treatment, which could also aid early detection of the disease: November 2022

XDF Programme Annual Symposium 2022

Nine of the XDF Programme Fellows accompanied by the Programme Lead and the Scientific Administrator
Our Institute’s Cross-Disciplinary Fellowship (XDF) Programme Annual Symposium took place on the 5th of October delivering a feast of cross-disciplinary science

Kiltwalkers take important steps for Edinburgh Research into Cancer Fund

The IGC kiltwalk team together
On 18 September a group of passionate staff and students from the Institute of Genetics and Cancer walked in aid of the Edinburgh Research into Cancer (ERIC) Fund: October 2022

Edinburgh Super-Resolution Imaging Consortium will play key role in UK Euro-BioImaging node

The new node brings together state-of-the-art biological imaging instruments from world class research environments, including the Advanced Imaging Resource facility at the Institute of Genetics and Cancer: October 2022

Kidney cancer drug accepted for use within NHS Scotland and across the UK

Pembrolizumab (Keytruda) prevents PD‑L1 and PD‑L2 ligand proteins on tumour cells from binding with PD⁠-⁠1 receptors on T cells
Results of an international study with its UK component led from Edinburgh has led to approval of the first ever treatment reducing relapse after kidney cancer surgery: October 2022

National Postdoc Appreciation Week Awards

From left to right: Jareth, Adelaide, Marta, Øyvind
Congratulations to Adelaide Young, Marta Canel, Øyvind Almelid and Jareth Wolfe on recently receiving National Postdoc Appreciation Week Awards for their work at the Institute: September 2022

Understanding cell state transitions might aid therapeutic developments

cSTAR methodology used for separation of proliferation and differentiation signalling patterns in neuroblastoma cells.
Edinburgh researchers contributed to a study describing a novel approach for mapping cell states, modelling cell state transitions and predicting targeted interventions to convert cell fate decisions: September 2022

Hunt begins for genes to unlock mystery of ME

A quest to find the genetic signal to one of the world’s most puzzling medical conditions is being led by Edinburgh researchers: September 2022

2022 Early Career and Hastie Career Advancement Fund Awards announced

Early Career Awards Winners 2022
We're delighted to announce the latest winners of the Early Career and Hastie Career Advancement Fund Awards. September 2022

IGC Langmuir Talent Development Fellowships in Cancer Research

A new fund has been launched by the Institute of Genetics and Cancer to support early career researchers in their journey to independence, thanks to a significant philanthropic donation from Hugh and Josseline Langmuir: September 2022

Therapy trial offers breast cancer patients hope

A woman looks hopefully out of the window
Women with an early form of breast cancer are more likely to stay free of the disease after an extra radiotherapy boost, new research shows.

Professor Sara Brown performs in her first Edinburgh Fringe Show to a full house

Photo of Sara Brown's Fringe VIP badge
Dermatology Professor Sara Brown took part in an Edinburgh Fringe show as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas. August 2022

Work under way on new 4D cellular medicine research facilities to provide unprecedented insights into human disease

building works on the site of the Institute of Genetics and Cancer
Building work has commenced for the new building at the Western General Hospital site, which will allow scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Institute of Genetics and Cancer to investigate genetic conditions and cancers in greater depth and detail than ever before: August 2022

Ovarian carcinosarcoma as a distinct form of ovarian cancer

Comparison of ovarian carcinosarcoma (OCS) and high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC).
Our investigators report detailed clinical and histopathological characterisation of the largest pathologically confirmed cohort of ovarian carcinosarcoma patients to date: August 2022

New strategy to target cancer cells expressing PD-L1

Graphical abstract of the work published in JACS Au.
Edinburgh researchers report a ligand-tetrazine conjugate approach to “track & treat” malignant cells that are capable of evading the immune system: August 2022

Drivers of endocrine therapy resistance in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer

Genomic characteristics of some of the samples analysed in the study.
Edinburgh researchers used a unique sample set to provide new insights into endocrine therapy resistance in estrogen receptor positive breast cancer: August 2022

Increased incidence of Type 1 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic is not a direct effect of recent COVID-19 infection

Figure 3 shows relation of type 1 diabetes incidence in Scotland to A) seasonality and B) calendar time from '15-20
​​​​​​​A recent publication in the journal Diabetes Care from Professor Helen Colhoun and Professor Paul McKeigue's groups, reports that although the incidence of type 1 diabetes rose sharply among young persons during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic that this was not a direct effect of COVID-19 infection itself. July 2022

Liz Patton Research Group receives award to track melanoma

Liz Patton and her team on balcony overlooking Edinburgh
The award, from Melanoma Research Alliance, will support a recent technology called "barcoding" which aims to help advance therapies in melanoma patients: July 2022

Blood test could predict future risk of leukaemia

A 3D computer generated image of acute lymphoblastic leukemia with red blood cells
The collaborative study between the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow was co-lead by the Tamir Chandra Research Group and involved work by two Research Fellows from the Cross-Disciplinary Fellowships (XDF) Programme: July 2022.

Multiomic characterization of high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma enables high-resolution patient stratification

Tumour-infiltrating immune cells across high-grade serous carcinoma subtypes.
Edinburgh led study provides high-resolution picture of the molecular landscape in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma, better defining patients who may benefit most from specific molecular therapeutics and highlighting those for whom novel treatment strategies are needed to improve outcomes: July 2022

X-Net launches to remove obstacles to cross-disciplinary research careers

The Medical Research Council has invested £200,000 in a new national network which will help scientists overcome barriers to working in interdisciplinary science: July 2022

A new tool for rapid protein degradation in live animals

Andrew Wood and colleagues develop new tool for modulating protein levels in vivo: June 2022

Characterisation of a nucleo-adhesome

Graphical representation of the nucleo-adhesome concept
A study by Edinburgh scientists provides important new information on the ability of cell adhesion molecules to relocate to the cell nucleus: June 2022

Professor Cathy Abbott elected as BNA Trustee of Research Policy

Professor Cathy Abbott has been elected as Trustee of Research Policy on the British Neuroscience Association (BNA) Council

Professor David Porteous retires

University of Edinburgh colleagues wish Professor David Porteous well for his retirement after four decades of research: April 2022

£22 million investment launches MRC National Mouse Genetics Network

Key members of Network clusters include Institute scientists Ian Tomlinson (Cancer), Andrew Wood, Joe Marsh, Asier Unciti-Broceta (Degron Tagging) and Pleasantine Mill, (Congenital Anomalies): April 2022

Tom Deegan receives Early Career Research Award

Tom’s work and contribution as an exceptional early career researcher has been acknowledged in the Biochemical Society’s annual awards: April 2022

Early Career Prize for Didier Devaurs

Cross-disciplinary Fellow Didier Devaurs has received a SULSA award for his work using cutting-edge machine learning techniques to resolve challenges with deep mutational scanning: March 2022

COVID-19 testing: disparity between national and institution-based case detection

TestEd Logo
TestEd data suggests that public health messaging should acknowledge that reduced testing and under-reporting of positive Lateral Flow Tests could under-estimate community prevalence: March 2022

Loss of Integrin-Linked Kinase sensitizes breast cancer to SRC inhibitors

Effects of Src inhibitors on growth of triple negative breast cancer in an animal model [for details see Beetham H et al. Cancer
Our researchers demonstrated that loss of Integrin-Linked Kinase sensitizes triple negative breast cancer to SRC inhibition: February 2022

New understanding of mutation pattern holds potential for more tailored cancer treatment

A team of researchers from the MRC Human Genetics Unit have found that the enzyme TOP1 is an important source of mutations in active genes: February 2022

Ovarian cancer therapy boosted by drug that slows disease’s advance

The tissue origins and major molecular pathway alterations in different types of ovarian epithelial cancer. [from Shih et al. Am
Trametinib, currently used to treat skin and lung cancers, has been found to slow the progression of a form of ovarian cancer and increase the number of patients who respond to treatment, a clinical trial has found: February 2022

Scientists in Scotland to get £12 million boost from Cancer Research UK

The charity has announced that experts in Edinburgh and Glasgow - the Cancer Research UK Scotland Centre - will receive the funding over the next five years for their ground-breaking work as part of a unique chain of cutting-edge research hubs around the UK: February 2022

Blood proteins could be the key to a long and healthy life, study finds

Research from the Jim Wilson Research Group suggests two blood proteins influence how long and healthy a life we live: January 2022

Live from the Lab with the Brain Tumour Award team

Artistic representation of a brain microenvironment
Virtual Lab Tour with Prof Neil Carragher’s Research Group

Tech spinout aims to ‘democratise data’ to boost medical research

Scientists at the MRC Human Genetics Unit and Roslin Institute have launched a spinout company that aims to democratise genetic data access and cut from days to minutes the time it takes to analyse millions of genetic records: January 2022

Zebrafish study unlocks understanding of developmental mechanisms hijacked in cancer

The work, led by Alessandro Brombin and Liz Patton and in collaboration with Tamir Chandra, could potentially inform improved drug therapies for people living with melanoma: January 2022

Disparities in breast cancer care quality have reduced

Regional variation in chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer across Scotland has reduced significantly over the past 15 years, according to a new study: December 2021

TestEd team awarded Principal’s Medal at winter graduation ceremony

TestEd Logo
Professor Tim Aitman received the medal on behalf of the team for significant achievements in pioneering a way to mass population testing in an epidemic: December 2021

Multi-omic machine learning predictor of breast cancer therapy response

Schematic: prediction of response to neoadjuvant therapies
Edinburgh clinicians contributed to a study that developed new AI-based predictor of response to cancer therapy: December 2021