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Case Studies

Node Funded MRes Student 2016-17

Adam Bloomfield

”I have had an academic and clinical interest in oncology since starting medical school, though it is taught with some restriction in our curriculum. In the later years of medical school there is emphasis is on recognising patterns of symptoms and signs for recognition and management of malignancy. Undertaking the MRes in Cancer allowed for an appreciation of why these symptoms and signs manifest, and indeed help with understanding the response or sensitivity to treatment.

I chose a project in paediatric Burkitt lymphoma. This allowed me to further my understanding of carcinogenesis, and the experimental approaches that allow for such advances. I was interested in mutations: how they are discovered, how they can be classified and how to assess their cellular effect. Under the supervision of Dr Rand’s group, I used bioinformatic technologies to analyse next-generation sequencing data generated from relapsed and chemosensitive tumour samples of children with Burkitt lymphoma. This allowed evaluation of point mutations and indels in lymphomagenic genes. MYC encodes a transcription factor known as the “regulator of the genome”, which had the greatest mutation frequency in our sample cohort. The most interesting finding was homozygous TP53 mutation that was almost exclusive to relapsed samples, suggesting abrogation of the DNA damage response may underpin such cancer.

The MRes year is almost 12 months, and it is impractical to have a part-time job due to the demands of the project. As such the cost of living is high. Without the financial help of the Pathology Node Bursary, it would have been infeasible for me to undertake the research year. Importantly, a grant is also given to the research laboratory, which will help with the cost of future projects within Dr Rand’s laboratory.”

Please find more details on Adam’s Masters project from his poster below.