Medical Research Scotland is one of the largest and most comprehensive independent research charities in Scotland. Unlike most medical research charities, our funding isn't restricted to any one disease or condition, we support high-quality research that aims to improve the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of all diseases and disease mechanisms.
Awards in the past 20 years
The following are some of the awards we made for research into cancer.
£148,073 over three years to Dr Barry J.A. Laird & Professor Marie Fallon (Palliative Medicine, Edinburgh Cancer Centre, Edinburgh University), Professor Donald Macmillan (Surgery, Glasgow University) & Professor Kenneth Fearon (Surgery, Edinburgh University), for an investigation of inflammatory biomarkers in prognosis in advanced cancer (IPAC Study).
Cancer patients and/or their relatives often want an estimate of life expectancy, to allow prioritisation of personal goals and help to inform decisions regarding treatment. Estimating time remaining in advanced cancer patients is, however, difficult and involves consideration of several factors, often in isolation. This project will clarify whether combining them will increase predictive accuracy, with the aim of developing a more accurate prognostic tool.
£148,872 over 36 months to Dr Richard Mort & Professor Iain Jackson (Medical & Developmental Genetics, MRC Human Genetics Unit, Edinburgh) & Dr Kevin Painter (Mathematics, Heriot-Watt University), to take an integrated multidisciplinary approach to modelling normal neural crest cell development and the abnormalities that contribute to human birth defects.
1 in 3,000 babies born in the UK are diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (Nf1). As well as having an increased risk of developing cancers of the nervous system, >95% of children diagnosed with Nf1 also have variable amounts of skin and hair hyper- or hypopigmentation. Pigment cells are a subtype of neural crest stem cells (NCSCs), the migration of which is a fundamental antenatal development process. Using a unique integration of live imaging and mathematical modelling, this project aims to explain neural crest cell behaviour in these and related disorders.
£148,730 to Dr Dana Faratian* (Division of Pathology & Breakthrough Research Unit, Edinburgh University) & Dr Gillian Smith (Biomedical Research Institute, Dundee University), for a three-year study involving the grouping of colorectal cancers by phosphoprotein profiling, to refine prediction of responses to new and existing therapies.[*No longer involved with this grant.]
Reducing the 1 in 3 death rate for colon cancer depends on finding better ways to predict a patient's response to chemotherapy. This project aims to identify key differences between cancer types, to enable suitable tests for pathologists in hospital laboratories to use when a diagnosis is made.
£74,192 over 18 months to Dr Annette Sorensen, Dr Marie Boyd & Dr Anthony Mcclusky (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University) for an 18-month investigation of novel combination therapies for the treatment of medulloblastoma and other somatostatin receptor expressing tumours.
Medulloblastoma is the most common type of brain tumour affecting children. Current treatments for it and other similar cancers have serious side-effects resulting from 'collateral' damage to the surrounding healthy tissues. This project will study a number of possible options for improved and more effective treatment.
£146,832 over three years to Dr V. Anne Smith (School of Biology, St Andrews University) with colleagues Dr S. Langdon & Dr Dana Faratian* (Institute of Molecular Medicine & Genetics, Edinburgh University), to take a systems biology approach to the development of predictive patient selection for ovarian cancer therapy. [*No longer involved with this grant.]
Ovarian cancer has a poor prognosis: 65% of women die within 5 years, in spite of often responding well to intial treatment. Unlike breast cancer, there are no biological markers to indicate who should get what therapy. This project will involve creating datasets from treatment-sensitive and -resistant ovarian cancers and using a powerful statistical technique for data analysis. This systems biology technique allows the visualisation of how a range of variables, including biological measurements and response to therapy, relate to each other in pathways. These biomarker pathways should enable improved decision-making with respect to treatment suitability.
£135,287 over 24 months to Dr Christine M. Dufes (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences) and Professor Kevin Ryan (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow) for the evaluation of systemic p73 gene therapy of cancer, using a novel transferrin-targeted dendrimer.
The potential for using gene therapy in cancer treatment is currently limited by the inability get the modified genes to deep-seated tumours efficiently and without healthy tissues being damaged in the process. This project aims to improve the efficiency of these 'seek and destroy' therapies by using an iron-targeted delivery system to carry the tumour-suppressor gene, p73 directly to the tumour. Iron is essential for tumour cell growth and the tumour cells have many iron-carrier receptors on their surface. The hope is that intravenously-administered iron-targeted carriers will prove to be a highly effective and specific means of anti-cancer treatment.
£145,332 over three years to Dr Nial J. Wheate, Dr Oliver Sutcliffe & Professor David Flint (Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy & Biomedical Sciences, Strathclyde University), to investigate the mechanisms of folic acid-directed delivery of platinum(II)-based anticancer drugs using PAMAM dendrimers.
Cancers of the head, neck, ovarian, testicular, colorectal, lung and bladder are mainly treated with three platinum-based drugs. However, all three have severe side-effects (like nausea and vomiting), resulting from the drugs' indiscriminate attack on normal, as well as cancerous cells. These effects limit the amount of drug that can be given and the cancers themselves also develop resistance to platinum-based drugs, so patients relapse. This project aims to improve the efficacy of platinum drugs by investigating whether attaching them to the surface of tiny polymers and then to folic acid, allows the cancerous cells to be targeted more specifically.
£149,761 over three years to Dr Hironori Ishizaki & Dr Elizabeth Patton (Edinburgh Cancer Centre, University of Edinburgh) for an investigation involving a small-molecule approach to melanocyte development, regeneration and disease.
Melanoma is responsible for more than 80% of the deaths from skin cancer and its incidence, particularly in Scotland, continues to rise as the most aggressive form is resistant to chemotherapy. The research of this project is focused on improving understanding of first, how the pigment cells that become melanoma (melanocytes) develop, migrate and survive and second, the genetic and cellular events that cause them to form moles and progress to become invasive cancer.
£133,793 over three years to Dr Joanna L. Parish (Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews), for a structural study of ChIR1, a DNA helicase required for sister chromatid cohesion and papillomavirus genome persistence.
Cell division, involving the accurate copying and separation of the DNA into the resultant daughter cells, is important for the growth and maintenance of the body but its failure can result in cancer. During separation of the DNA, duplicated chromosomes are temporarily 'glued together' by a protein complex. This project will use X-ray crystallography to study the basic structure of an enzyme (CHlR1) which is known to be required for the gluing process and has also been shown to be essential to maintaining infection with the cervical cancer-causing papillomavirus.
£149,843 over two years to Dr Ada Delaney (Centre for Neuroscience Research, Royal [Dick] School of Veterinary Studies) and colleagues, Professor Susan M. Fleetwood-Walker (Centre for Neuroscience Research, Royal [Dick] School of Veterinary Studies), Dr Rory Mitchell (Centre for Integrative Physiology) Dr Lesley Colvin (Department of Anaesthesia, Critical Care & Pain Medicine, Western General Hospital) and Professor Marie Fallon (CRUK Edinburgh Cancer Research Centre, Western General Hospital), all of the University of Edinburgh, for an investigation aimed at gaining new insights into evidence-based pain management for cancer-induced bone pain.
Cancer patients often develop secondary growths in their bones which frequently cause intense pain. Such cancer-induced bone pain is very difficult to treat adequately and so significantly reduces the quality of life of terminal patients. This project aims to identify markers in the nerves which might aid the evaluation of new analgesics for this type of bone pain.
£149,841 over three years to Drs Mary Donaldson & Iain Morgan (Department of Pathological Sciences, University of Glasgow Veterinary School), to investigate the potential of TopBP1 to be a therapeutic target for human papillomavirus infection.
This project aims to improve understanding of how proteins and other cell components interact with viral proteins, specifically the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes genital warts and cervical cancer. The aim is to find ways to disrupt the life cycle of the virus so it cannot cause disease. The new vaccines only prevent initial infection with HPV; people already infected might still develop cancer and there is currently no way to prevent this.
The first Medical Research Scotland/Mrs Mary Tyson Nursing, Midwifery & AHP Fellowship was awarded to Dr Bridget M. Johnston (Cancer Care Research Centre, University of Stirling) for her project entitled "To explore the experience of patients and carers regarding end-of-life care through the promotion of self care".
The ultimate aim of this project is to improve service delivery for the end-of-live care ofpatients with advanced cancer.
The Mrs Robina Menzies Smith Medical Research Scholarship 2003-04 was awarded to Dr Stuart Suttie (Surgery, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary) for research into the prediction of response to chemotherapy inpatients with oesophageal cancer, using positron emission tomography (PET).
£64,839 over two years to Drs Winifred Boner & Iain Morgan (Veterinary Pathology, Glasgow University) for the characterisation of human papillomavirus 16 E2 cellular interacting proteins as therapeutic agents for treatment of HPV-related disease.
The life-cycle of the human papillomaviruses (HPV) is dependant on the E2 protein. Given the severity of diseases they cause and the lack of therapies, this research seeks to disturb E2 function to disrupt the viral life-cycle with molecules which could be therapeutic.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship 2002-03 was awarded to Miss Heather Kirk (Surgery, Aberdeen University) to study immunonutrition in patients with upper gastrointestinal cancer: optimal immunomodulation and effects on modulation of tumour behaviour.
Mrs Robina Menzies Smith Medical Research Scholarship 2001-02 was awarded to Mrs Pamela Alexandra Barker (Surgery, Aberdeen University) for a study of the modulation of protein kinase C intracellular signalling pathways, invasive potential and apoptosis in prostate cancer by conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).
£99,573 over two years to Drs Michelle J. Ferguson (Cancer Medicine), Theodore R. Hupp, Neil M. Kernohan (Molecular & Cellular Pathology) and Professors Robert J.C. Steele (Surgical & Molecular Oncology) and Elaine M. Rankin (Cancer Medicine, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee) to develop novel strategies for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
The p53 gene pathway is necessary for cells to undergo programmed cell death, known as apoptosis. However, p53 is mutated in many colorectal cancer patients, making treatment challenging. This research considers ways to manipulate the p53 response to improve cell killing when accompanied by chemotherapy.
£70,000 over two years to Drs Sean Carlin & Robert J. Mairs and Professor Anne Barrett (Radiation Oncology, Glasgow University) for the development of radioiodide-based therapeutic strategies for the treatment of malignant disease.
Certain cells, including breast cancer and thyroid cells, are known to be able to take up iodine. Treatment of thyroid tumours has been improved by the use of radioiodide and this research intends to establish if this mechanism could also bring benefits in breast cancer treatment.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship 2000-01 was awarded to Ms Amy Leslie (Surgery, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee) to study the genetic mutations asociated with both colorectal cancer and the polyps which precede it, to clarify whether they might prove useful as markers in early screening for the disease.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 2000-02 was awarded to Dr Laura C. Lawrie (Molecular & Cell Biology, Aberdeen University) to use proteomics, a powerful new analytical technique for comparing proteins found in tumour tissue samples with those found in normal tissues, as a means of identifying possible targets for the development of both new early screening methods and new treatments in colorectal cancer.
£69,162 over two years to Drs Thomas R.J. Evans, J. J. Going, Mr R. C. Stuart & Dr W.N. Keith (CRC Medical Oncology, Glasgow University) to study the senescence-like state of human oesophago-gastro cancers and its implication for response to cancer therapy.
£96,024 over three years to Drs Adam J.W. Paige & Hani Gabra (ICRF Medical Oncology Unit, Edinburgh University) to investigate the clinical significance and biological role of the WWOX gene in ovarian cancer.
£69,973 over two years to Dr David J. MacEwan (Biomedical Sciences, Aberdeen University) to investigate controlling tumour necrosis factor receptor subtypes in human tumour cells as a possible novel anti-cancer therapy.
£69,847 over two years to Dr Marie Boyd (Radiation Oncology), Professor S. Moira Brown (Neurovirology), Dr Robert J. Mairs (Radiation Oncology), Dr Wilson Angerson (Surgery) & Professor Tom Wheldon (Radiation Oncology, Glasgow University) for an in vitro assessment of a new treatment for glioma combining virally-mediated cell lysis with gene transfer and targeted radiotherapy.
The Mrs Jean V. Baxter Medical Research Fellowship 1999-2000 was awarded to Dr Sophie V. Barrett (Beatson Oncology Centre, Western Infirmary Glasgow) to investigate mismatch DNA repair and drug resistance of breast tumours.
£40,545 over one year to Miss Dorin Ziyaie, Mr Alastair M. Thompson & Professor Robert J.C. Steele (Surgery) and Dr Theodore R. Hupp (Molecular & Cellular Pathology, Ninewells Hospital & Medical School, Dundee) and Dr Kathryn L. Ball (Biochemistry, Dundee University) to study regulation of p53 activity during breast cancer treatment.
£67,364 over two years to Drs Howard McLeod (Medicine & Therapeutics), Graeme Murray (Pathology) and Professor Jim Cassidy (Medicine & Therapeutics, Aberdeen University) for an evaluation of chromosomal regions associated with resistance to chemotherapy.
£68,037 over two years to Dr Vladimir Buchman (Biomedical Sciences, St Andrews University) to study the interactions of persyn with members of the Bcl-2 family and other proteins in tumour cells.
£69,278 over two years to Dr Ralf M. Zwacka (Surgery, Edinburgh Unviersity) to investigate the modulation of NF-kappaB signalling as a potential gene therapy approach for colorectal cancer liver metastases.
£69,307 over two years to Drs Alison C. MacKinnon & Tariq Sethi (Rayne Laboratories, Edinburgh University) to study the inhibition of small cell lung cancer cell growth and the stimulation of apoptosis by substance P analogues.
£60,092 over two years to Dr W. Nicol Keith (CRC Medical Oncology), Dr James J. Going (Pathology) and Mr Robert C. Stuart (Surgery, Glasgow University) to investigate the role of telomerase expression and replicative ageining in Barrett's oesophagus.
£28,076 over one year to Professor John E. Fothergill & Dr William T. Melvin (Molecular & Cell Biology) and Dr Graeme I. Murray (Pathology, Aberdeen University) to study the role of matrix metalloproteinases in tumour invasion.
£68,118 over two years to Drs Michael J. Rogers & Meip Helfirch and Professor Stuart H. Ralston (Medicine & Therapeutics) and Professor Michael Greaves (Haematology, Aberdeen University) to study the antitumour effects of bisphosphonates in multiple myeloma.
£15,170 over two years to Dr Charles Deehan (Beatson Oncology Centre, Western Infirmary Glasgow), Dr Thomas E. Wheldon (CRC Beatson Laboratories, Glasgow University) and Professor Alex T. Elliott (Clinical Physics, Western Infirmary Glasgow) for radiobiological modelling of new strategies for clinical radiotherapy.
£46,753 to Professor Allan Price (Clinical Oncology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) and Dr David J. Harrison (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for a two-year investigation of detoxification and DNA repair activities in patients with Grade IV toxicity folloiwng radiotherapy.
£69,794 to Dr Tariq Sethi (Respiratory Medicine, Edinburgh University) and Dr Alison MacKinnon (Rayne Laboratory, Edinburgh University) for a two-year project to investigate the molecular mechanisms by which the 'broad spectrum neuropeptide antagonist' H-Arg-D-Trp-Nme-Phe-D-Trp-Leu-Met-NH2 inhibits small cell lung cancer cell growth and stimulates apoptosis.
£63,106 to Dr Scott Bader & Professor Andrew H. Wyllie (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for a two-year project aimed at the cloning and characterisation of a third family member of candidate tumour suppressor genes for human small cell lung cancer located on chromosome 3p21.
£68,459 to Drs Alan R. Clarke, Sarah Howie, Colin Purdie & David J. Harrison (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for a two-year study which hopes to define the role of p53-dependent pathways in the normal and malignant development of murine T and B cells.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship 1996-97 was awarded to Dr Robert C. Rintoul to work in the Respriratory Medicine Unit of Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on extracellular matrix regulation of cell growth, drug resistance and apoptosis in small cell lung cancer.
£55,411 to Professor John E. Fothergill and Dr William T. Melvin (Molcular & Cell Biology) and Dr Graeme I. Murray (Pathology, Aberdeen University) for a study of the activation and inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) in tumour invasion.
£69,254 to Ms Susan White, Drs V. Jill Bubb & Alan R. Clarke and Professor Andrew H. Wyllie (Pathology, Edinburgh University) and Dr Deborah Fowlis (Centre for Genome Research, Edinburgh) for a study of APC function and dysfunction and its role in neoplasia and development.
£65,960 to Drs Sandrine Prost, Christopher O.C. Bellamy & David J. Harrison (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for a study aimed at ascertaining whether impaired DNA repair underlies hepatocarcinogenesis in chronic liver disease.
£68,548 to Professor Keith James (Surgery, Edinburgh University) for the development of recombinant bacillus-Guerin-expressing cytoking and adhesion molecule genes for use in bladder cancer therapy.
£58,000 for three years to Mr Malcolm Dunlop (Surgery, Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh) and Dr Susan Farrington (MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh) to purchase a DNA sequencer for their studies on the genetic basis of colorectal cancer.
£33,004 to Mr David Gough, Steven Heys, Ben Younes and Professor O. Eremin (Surgery) and Dr J. Broom and P.H. Whiting (Clinical Biochemistry, Aberdeen University Medical School) for a one-year investigation of the potential for exogenous recombinant interleukin-2, administered in low doses, to reduce tumour-associated cachexia and endotoxin sensitivity.
The Cruden Medical Research Scholarship was awarded to Dr Kevin W. Robertson (Surgery, Glasgow Royal Infirmary University NHS Trust) to study the role of EGF and C-ERBB-2 receptors in determining the invasive potential of breast cancer.
£86,085 over three years to Professor Andrew H. Wyllie (Pathology, Edinburgh University) for an analysis by new methods of genomic instability in colorectal carcinoma.
£77,596 over three years to Professor John E. Fothergill & Dr William T. Melvin (Molecular & Cell Biology) & Dr Graeme I. Murray (Pathology, Aberdeen University) for a study of the role of matrix metalloproteinases in breast tumour invasion.
£55,280 to Dr John M.S. Bartlett, Dr D. Fenton-Lee & Professor Tim G. Cooke (Surgery, Glasgow Royal Infirmary), Dr Valerie Brunton (CRC Department for Medical Oncology) & Dr Brad Ozanne (Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Glasgow) for a two-year study of the use of novel inhibitors of EGF receptor tyrosine kinase activity as potential therapeutic agents in the control of gastric cancer.
£84,827 over three years to Dr Donald Bissett (Beatson Oncology Centre, Western Infirmary Glasgow) & Dr Robert Brown (Medical Oncology, Glasgow University) to study the role of p53 in resistance of tumours to the chemotherapeutic drug, cisplatin.
£60,464 to Professor Colin S. McArdle, Mr Barry Kelly & Dr Wilson J. Angerson (Surgery, Glasgow Royal Infirmary) for a two-year investigation of the detection of 'occult' liver metastases using duplex/colour Doppler ultrasonography.