Newly appointed Head of the GMRF Liver Cancer Unit Dr Aparna Jayachandran was recently awarded the 2017 Reginald Ferguson Research Fellowship in Gastroenterology to establish a research project which will be the first of its kind in Australia.

This fellowship will fund Dr Jayachandran for a new project examining and developing treatments for cholangiocarcinoma, a type of primary liver cancer with limited treatment options and a very low survival rate.

“Cholangiocarcinoma is quite lethal. Survival for this type of cancer is less than 12 months,” Dr Jayachandran says, “We really do need to develop better treatment options.”

“It is really encouraging that the fellowship supports innovative research in this area. I am very grateful for what it means for my work.”

The project will build on Dr Jayachandran’s previous work in melanoma as she seeks to rewire aggressive cancer cells to a less aggressive state. This is cutting-edge research involving an embryonic microenvironment which will closely resemble the behaviour of cancer cells within patients. This research method will allow Dr Jayachandran to examine how aggressive cancer cells move and factors which may potentially stop them from spreading.

“If we establish it here, we’ll be the only institute in Australia doing this. Worldwide there are only three other teams doing this research, and they are looking at other cancers. No one has attempted to do this on liver cancer,” Dr Jayachandran says.

In order to commence this project, Dr Jayachandran requires additional funding for three items of equipment. She needs an incubator to set up the embryonic microenvironment, and two specialised microscopes to properly examine the cancer cells.

If you are interested in helping fund this equipment so that Aparna can begin her innovative project, contact the GMRF today.