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World-leading research

Queen Mary is a leading research-intensive university, ranked seventh in the UK for quality of research by the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021).

According to the REF 2021, 92% per cent of biology research at Queen Mary is either world-leading or internationally excellent. It also ranked the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, which co-teaches the Biomedical Sciences programme, in the top seven institutions in the UK for medical research.

Course content is underpinned by our staff’s world-leading research, and new research findings are shared in weekly departmental seminars, so you can stay up to date with the latest developments. Below is just one recent example of the pioneering research carried out here.

Tackling drug resistance in skin cancer cells (source)

Researchers from Barts Cancer Institute have found that melanoma cells fight anti-cancer drugs by changing their internal skeleton (cytoskeleton) – opening up a new therapeutic route for combatting skin and other cancers that develop resistance to treatment.

The team found that melanoma cells stop responding to both immunotherapies and drugs targeted at the tumour’s faulty genes by increasing the activity of two cytoskeletal proteins – ROCK and Myosin II. The researchers found that these molecules are key for cancer cell survival and resistance to these treatments.

The molecules had previously been linked to the process of metastatic spread but not to the poor impact of current anti-melanoma therapies. This work points to a strong connection between metastasis and therapy resistance – confirming that the cytoskeleton is important in determining how aggressive a cancer is.

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