The end of an era has arrived.

After 5 years of donating a fantastic cumulative sum of £72k to stem cell research for prostate cancer at York University Cancer Research Centre to Professor Norman Maitland and achieving startling results, a new era has arrived where we have now today donated £10k to Professor Maitland’s able assistant Dr Fiona Frame.

Due to Norman’s retirement and the closure of the York Centre Dr Frame has accepted a new post at the University of Hull’s Biology dept where we will continue to give her our full support in the elusive chase of finding help , support and maybe one day a cure for prostate cancer.

Here is our first donation to Fiona, plans are on-going to help create a fully equipped laboratory that can fight these horrific diseases and maybe one day make a massive difference in the fight.

So to everyone who has contributed to our cause, either DJ’d, helped promote, donated, helped with raffles and anything else, you know who you are, a massive thank you to you all, be assured we are moving in the right direction with further events planned at Newark, Whitby, Serena (Spain), Norwich and Banbury, and long may it continue until we finally make a difference to help stop suffering!!

Lots of love and friendship from Charity Soul

New Beginnings

As you now know, the York lab has closed down and Professor Maitland has retired. I spent 13 years as a researcher in the Prof’s lab and it is with a mixture of sadness, trepidation and excitement that I move to the next stage of my research career. I have taken up a post as Lecturer in Cancer Biology at the University of Hull. In this role I will be teaching students but I will also be setting up my own lab to continue research into prostate cancer. I have learned many things working for Professor Maitland in York and it is now time to put it all into practice.

Maybe you would like to know a little more about me. I grew up on the West coast of Scotland with my two sisters, my Mum, a medical secretary, and my Dad, an agricultural scientist. Perhaps it was the time on the weekends when my Dad took me to his work and I got to play with microscopes that made me interested in science. I did my studies at the University of Edinburgh, which took me 8 years. I then went to continue my training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School near Boston for 4 years before arriving in York. The reason I joined Prof Maitland’s lab was because he was working with real tissue from patient tumours. I believe that in order to investigate novel treatments, test out different combination treatments and work out mechanisms of therapy resistance, we need to be working directly with patient samples. There are two reasons for this (i) to work with current disease and (ii) to take into account patient variation.

As for my experience of cancer, I am afraid that I lost my Dad to colon cancer in 2006 and we lost my husband’s mother to lung cancer in 2009. However, my brother-in-law had follicular lymphoma and is still here many years later after 2 years of chemotherapy. Therefore, knowing that treatment can work spurs me on to find better treatments for prostate cancer and investigate the patient samples to also try to identify better and earlier ways to diagnose cancer so that it can be treated more successfully. That is my hope and my motivation.

I want to develop models using the patient samples to allow better and more accurate testing of drugs. I will do this by growing them in 3D cultures and also growing them in different oxygen concentrations, just as occurs in real tumours. In addition, we have generated a lot of data right at the end of the time in Prof Maitland’s lab that needs to be validated and investigated further. We have identified a lot of genes that are upregulated in the patient cancer cell cultures when compared to cell cultures from normal prostate. The proteins that are made by these genes are therefore candidates for new drug targets and also possibly for diagnosis of prostate cancer.

There is a lot of work to be done and the donation from Charity Soul will mean that I can establish my research lab and follow these avenues of research. I am hugely grateful for the support.