Dr Tim Witney, from the Department of Imaging Chemistry & Biology in the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, has recently received a £2.24m Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship award to expand his research on the Redox Microenvironment to Predict Tumour Resistance to Therapy.
I am delighted and honoured to receive such a prestigious Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust. This long-term funding will transform our ability to track down drug resistance in advanced animal models of cancer with the aim to translate the most promising imaging agents into human applications at an early stage.– Dr Tim Witney, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences
Dr Tim Witney and his research group are developing new positron emission tomography (PET) imaging tools to identify drug resistant tumours.
Despite huge progress in the development of cutting-edge anti-cancer therapies, most tumours become resistant to these drugs.
With this funding, Dr Witney aims to focus on specifically targeting and imaging the tumour redox microenvironment, which is altered by drug resistant tumours to escape treatment.
The redox microenvironment describes the balance between the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated inside tumour cells, either as a result of drug treatment or through enhanced proliferation, and the antioxidant mechanisms the tumour cells employ to neutralise the deleterious effects of ROS.
Specifically, Dr Witney will develop three novel PET radiotracers to image how resistant tumour remove, detoxify, and repair the oxidative damage caused by traditional and experimental therapies.
The early identification of drug-resistant cancer will allow clinicians to select alternate treatments that will increase the chance of response and prolong survival.
The Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowships highly regarded awards look to support independent researchers who are emerging as global leaders in their field and who want to tackle the most important questions in science.
This long-term support, combined with world-leading expertise in PET imaging within the School, and extensive supporting programmes across multiple U.K. Institutes (MITHRAS, RedOx), will rapidly accelerate the development of novel PET radiotracers with the primary aim of making a difference to patient care. The development of a radiotracer that can not only monitor treatment, but predict the likelihood of treatment efficacy will herald in a new era of precision medicine.– Dr Tim Witney, School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences