Photo: Warwick Media Library

Warwick University collaborates with a University in China in fight against cancer

Joint research by the University of Warwick and Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Centre (SYSUCC) means that a deadly cancer, occurring mainly in China, could be more effectively treated.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), is a cancer of the head and neck which is extremely widespread in China.

Researchers at Warwick’s Department of Chemistry are collaborating with biologists at SYSUCC to effectively target this type of cancer. Biologists at SYSUCC have identified how to target NPC cells whilst chemists from Warwick have produced the medicine with which to target them, leaving healthy cells unharmed.

SYSUCC have discovered a peptide molecule which is recognised by cancer cells. Chemists at Warwick are now developing precious metal compounds, which can be attached to these molecules to treat the cancer cells.

It is very exciting to bring together multidisciplinary expertise across the two universities to tackle this deadly tumour.

Lawrence Young, Vice President at the University of Warwick

The two universities are international partners, with Warwick having signed a collaborative agreement with SYSUCC in October 2015. Experts from each institution regularly visit the other, exchanging scientific and cultural knowledge.

One of the cancer research experts from Warwick is Isolda Romero-Canelon who travelled to SYSUCC with PhD students. Isolda sees great opportunity in the partnership between the two institutions. She commented: “Working with SYSUCC is a great opportunity. We have fantastic shared expertise and the exchange will allow us to quickly progress in the development of novel approaches for the treatment of NPC.”

This new joint research project effectively strengthens the ties between Warwick and SYSUCC, as well as between UK and China. Lawrence Young, Vice President at the University of Warwick, has overall responsibility for the University’s engagement with China and has worked on NPC for over 30 years.

He said: “It is very exciting to bring together multidisciplinary expertise across the two universities to tackle this deadly tumour. The lessons we are learning could also be applied to cancers that are more common in the West”.

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