Research update: developing improved therapies

Research update: developing improved therapies

Post-doctoral research associate, Dr Lewis Quayle tells Weston Park Cancer Charity about the innovative research he is carrying out to develop improved therapies for metastatic breast cancer.


Each year, a considerable number of patients at Weston Park Cancer Centre are diagnosed with breast cancer bone metastasis, breast cancer that has spread to the skeleton.


The research Lewis is undertaking aims to explore why some cancer cells are able to enter into a non-dividing state when they spread to other parts of the body, enabling them to remain in the skeleton for many years, resist chemotherapy, and go on to cause tumours to emerge many years or even decades later. In doing so, Lewis hopes to identify novel therapeutic targets that will lead to the development of improved therapies for metastatic breast cancer.


Lewis’ most recent training saw him travel to Australia to undertake a two-month secondment at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney – a world leading centre for cancer genomics. This unique opportunity, made possible thanks to donations from Weston Park Cancer Charity, has enabled Lewis to become proficient in bioinformatics, a field of science that combines biology, computer programming and statistics to allow the analysis of the large biological data sets that are generated from the type of research that Lewis conducts here in Sheffield. The expertise that Lewis has gained through his visit will allow him to extract the most meaningful information from his research, which will consequently enable him to identify potential new therapeutic targets aimed at removing the cancer cells responsible for tumour recurrence much more quickly than would have been possible without this training.


Additionally, he will be able to use his new skills to develop future research projects at the Holen lab and within the local and wider breast cancer research community, as well as continuing his collaborative work with researchers at the Garvan Institute.


Lewis comments; “This is a highly specialised area of research which has been made possible thanks to generous funding from Weston Park Cancer Charity. Charitable donations have enabled us to build considerable expertise and technology in this area and creating a working model to study rare non-dividing breast cancer cells which is one of only a limited number world-wide”.


“By supporting this project, Weston Park Cancer Charity and all of those who have fundraised to support projects such as this one will ultimately have allowed us to generate new knowledge that could benefit patients with a disease for which there is currently no cure”.