A UCL collaboration between Dr Rebecca Shipley from UCL Mechanical Engineering and Dr Simon Walker-Samuel from UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging has won the Rosetrees Trust 2016 Interdisciplinary Prize. UCL’s application was ranked first out of 15 leading research institutes from across the UK and Israel.
“We are absolutely delighted to have won this prize, which will allow us to hire postdoctoral researchers and take our combined imaging-simulation framework to the next stage in developing cancer therapies,” said Dr Shipley.
Blood vessels in a mouse colorectal xenograft model, acquired using optical projection tomography, and colour-coded by vessel size
“Our approach will bring together state-of-the-art, high resolution medical imaging methods with sophisticated mathematical models to predict improvements in T-cell therapies for pancreatic cancer.”
In chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, T-cells are extracted from blood and then reprogrammed to target specific molecules within the tumour. While the therapies have had remarkable success in the treatment of leukaemia, the efficacy of treatment in solid tumours is believed to be limited by various barriers.
This project hopes to shed light on how to overcome these barriers. To do so, Dr Shipley and Dr Walker-Samuel will perform tests and computational simulations using the sophisticated imaging of a tumour and its microenvironment.
“UCL is a fantastic place to do interdisciplinary research, there a lot of structures where you can get joint-PhD students with people from other faculties – it’s just easy to work with people here. And it is great to see charities like the Rosetrees Trust investing so heavily in this kind of work,” said Dr Shipley.
Image: “Blood vessels in a mouse colorectal xenograft model, acquired using optical projection tomography, and colour-coded by vessel size.”