16 Jan, 2018

For an early-career researcher, receiving validation for your work is a tremendous encouragement. It is particularly encouraging when the recognition comes from one of the world’s leading associations in your field.

GMRF PhD Student, Ritu Shrestha, from our Liver Cancer Unit was recently awarded the Young Investigator Bursary by the European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) for the upcoming HCC Summit in Geneva this March.

The HCC Summit is a coming-together of experts in the field of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC – also referred to as primary liver cancer) to share research findings and establish new collaborations. Thanks to the bursary, Ritu will now be attending the summit to present her research from the first year of her PhD with GMRF.

“It is so exciting that my work is being accepted. This is a very good platform for me to meet people and gain more knowledge about the current scenario of HCC,” Ritu said.

As well as the opportunity to present a poster and summary, the award includes free registration for the summit, a travel allowance and one year membership for EASL.

“This is recognition for me that I am on the right track,” Ritu says. “It’s a great boost to motivate me to continue working hard.”

Ritu will be presenting on the abstract of her PhD work; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition induced drug resistance in hepatocellular carcinoma derived cancer stem cells.

So what does that actually mean? Ritu is researching possible underlying mechanisms for drug resistance in HCC with a focus on cancer stem cells and a phenomenon which makes cancer cells more aggressive and results in the spreading of cancer throughout the body (known as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, or EMT).

“Cancer stem cells are usually resistant to available therapy and can cause tumor relapse. Thus, targeting EMT and cancer stem cells can reverse drug resistance so that drugs can kill cancer cells more effectively,” Ritu says.

To find out more about the work Ritu is doing as part of GMRF’s Liver Cancer Unit, visit www.gallipoliresearch.com.au/research/liver-cancer

Like this article? Sign up to our mailing list to receive news & updates from GMRF