Tomorrows Treatments Today

Kent Cancer Trust is a unique organisation, unique in that it is wholly Kent based and unique in that it is the only charity in the county which integrates cancer research, clinical treatments and public information.

Our platform has four main planks:

•    To relieve the suffering of cancer patients and improve cancer care within the Kent area
•    To develop and train cancer clinicians, medical staff and students
•    To promote research into the cause and treatment of cancer with a view to the development of new and kinder treatments
•    To increase public awareness and education about the cause and treatment of cancer

Statistics tell us that one in three people will get cancer during their lifetime, so Kent Cancer Trust’s aim is to alleviate this burden by pursuing it’s objectives in every way possible, particularly for the people of Kent.

The current way forward in cancer treatment is through Translational Research – relating research to the needs of the patient, from bench to bedside. This leads directly to “targeted” treatment. We know that the word cancer covers a wide range of diseases in different organs e.g. breast cancer, colo-rectal cancer etc. But within these general groupings, each person’s disease has paradigms which are specific to his or her cancer. Identifying these allows individualisation of treatment, leading to improved results and often less aggressive procedures.

In achievement of our aims, we are currently funding 3 research projects at a lifetime cost of circa £150,000.00.

1.    Specific targeting of tumour cells – In the laboratory we have developed a protein called a single chain antibody. The protein has been engineered to recognise a specific biomarker found only on the surface of tumour cells and a system has been developed to produce this protein at low cost and high quality and we are now attaching radioactive isotopes. The ultimate aim is to deliver a toxic dose of radiation to tumour cells while leaving non-tumour cells intact, thus providing a more targeted approach to treating cancers.

2.    Monitoring the effect of cancer and cancer treatment on male fertility – The purpose of this study is to develop “genomic sperm screening technology” aimed at improving the welfare of patients who are recovering from and under treatment for, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and testicular cancer. We aim ultimately, to provide information about the most suitable period of time from which such patients can think of starting or extending their family. In so doing we also hope to provide an insight into the origins of gross genetic alterations in the sperm of cancer patients before, during and after chemotherapy.

3.    Nano Medicine: Killing cancer cells from within – Oligonucleotides are new drugs with potential to treat patients with diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular and infectious diseases. An advantage for the patients compared to traditional treatments may be reduced side effects. However, efficient delivery of the oligonucleotides to diseases remains an issue. We propose to use polymers to carry the drug inside cancerous cells and kill them from within.

These projects are currently anticipated to run for a period of three years

Stuart Minty
Kent Cancer Trust