Dr Kate Lines discusses her project and benefits she has drawn from her experience as an Oxford-BMS Fellow.
What is your research background?
I obtained my PhD in Molecular Oncology at The Barts Cancer Institute in London, with a project investigating a novel protein involved in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. This peaked my interest in mechanisms of tumour development in the pancreas, which subsequently lead me to become a postdoctoral scientist in Professor Rajesh Thakker’s lab in OCDEM.
What are you researching now?
My current research is focused on understanding the epigenetic mechanisms underlying pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour development. I am studying the epigenetic landscape of these tumours to determine their epigenetic alterations. I am then investigating small molecule inhibitors that target these alterations to identify which can reduce tumour cell proliferation in vitro, and tumour growth in vivo. Ultimately we aim to take successful candidate inhibitors into patients
What has your experience of this Fellowship been like?
This fellowship has provided a great opportunity to gain experience in both academic and industry environments. I had the opportunity to visit the BMS laboratories in California where I learnt practical skills, and everybody was very welcoming and helpful. As a result, in addition to our team in Oxford, I now have monthly calls with two different BMS members to discuss my data and provide computational data analysis. I therefore feel I have a great support network in this fellowship and due to the diverse skills and knowledge of all the people involved I always have someone to turn to if I have any questions.
What are your aspirations for the future of this research?
Current medical treatments for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours are largely ineffective. Therefore, I hope that through my research we can identify some novel therapeutic targets, and potentially specific epigenetic inhibitors that have efficacy in treating these tumours, and one day will be used in the clinic.