Our research at a glance

Hope Against Cancer has funded over 60 research projects in the form of fellowships, PhD studentships, and consumable grants. The projects have covered a range of cancers at different stages of research – all with the aim to improve the lives of cancer patients. Read about some of the projects funded by HOPE below and click on the links for more detail (all links open in a new tab).

Click here for a list of recent research projects funded by Hope.

Initial research in the lab to understand cancer in the cell

New ideas for cancer treatments are developed from the lab, where experiments are done to understand the molecular events that make a cancer cell. If the process of cancer formation or spread is known, drugs can be developed to target and stop this. Hope funding has been awarded to study how to stop cancer cells dividing. A project studying a protein involved in the development of thoracic cancer and lymphoma has also been funded.

Testing drug candidates in the lab for effectiveness

Sometimes, a potential drug candidate is identified but whether or not it might have an effect on cancer cells is not known, and more experiments in the lab are done. The use of curcumin in colorectal cancer has been continuously supported by Hope, with a current project studying its anti-cancer effects. Drugs are also being studied for lymphoma, and a grant has been given for the purchase of a large number of drug candidates, called a drug library, to help develop new drugs for different cancers. Extra funding for the project on cancer cell division above has been given to study drugs that kill dividing cancer cells.

Improving methods of diagnosis and treatment

Improving the current methods of diagnosis and predicting how well treatments might work for an individual is also important. Liquid biopsies are studied as a non-invasive, general test to spot cancer in its early tracks and to provide information on the cancer. Another project is specifically looking at using this technique in pancreatic cancer since it can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Better diagnosis of melanoma using a safe imaging technique is also researched, as is the use of urine and blood tests for the diagnosis of lymphoma. Radiotherapy is a common treatment for cancer and predicting the effectiveness of radiotherapy in different individuals is also studied.

Clinical trials – studying the effects of a treatment on humans

Once data from the lab is collected, clinical trials can be done. It is done to test safety, dosage and the effectiveness of a drug with human volunteers. An early Hope funded project used curcumin alongside with chemotherapy drugs to look for improvements in the treatment and in the quality of life. A clinical trial is also in the aims of the current curcumin study described above. Hope has also supported trials studying the benefits of taking omega-3 infusions in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Our Hope funded nurse also helps with vital cancer research at the Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Improving the consultation experience

Hope funding has also been awarded to projects that improve the cancer journey at the doctor and patient interaction level. Social inequalities may have an impact on an individual’s treatment process, and a study looking at this in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual people has also been funded.

Hope and its role in Leicester

By bringing cutting-edge research to Leicester, Hope Against Cancer has played a role in Leicester becoming internationally recognised for its cancer research. This has only been made possible by the massive support and generous donations from members of the public.