Academic awarded prestigious bowel cancer research fellowship

Miss Rachael Clifford

A University colorectal research fellow, Miss Rachael Clifford, has been awarded a Research Fellowship, funded jointly by Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS).

The fellowship is part of the charity’s investment of up to half a million pounds in bowel cancer surgical research. Together with the RCS they establishing the UK’s first network of Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Fellows as well as a Colorectal Cancer Surgical Research Chair.

Miss Clifford is based at the University’s Institute of Translational Medicine, where she has taken three years out of her clinical surgical training to complete a PhD. Her research will look at ways to improve how well radiotherapy works for patients with rectal cancer. It will focus on an enzyme called acid ceramidase. Radiotherapy treatment is thought to be more effective in people with lower levels of this enzyme in their cancers. This project will look at whether blocking this enzyme means radiotherapy becomes more effective.

It is hoped this research might help improve how well radiotherapy works in the future, potentially avoiding the need for major surgery for some patients.

Of the award Miss Clifford said: “I am honoured to be able to continue desperately needed research identifying biomarkers for locally advanced rectal cancer.”

Dr Julia Ambler, Head of Research at Bowel Cancer UK, says: “We’re delighted to fund two more Research Fellows as part of our partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of England. By funding research to find new, more effective treatments we can help stop people dying from bowel cancer.”

More information can be found here.