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World-leading research

When you study medicine at Queen Mary, you’ll be working side-by-side with leading research scientists and pioneers in public healthcare, whose work is helping to change the lives of people across the world. Below are just two recent examples.

Tackling drug resistance in skin cancer cells

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.

Better primary care for young stroke survivors

A new study from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Cambridge has found that the role of primary care needs to be improved to help young stroke survivors return to work. Many people of working age who have a stroke want to return to work, but encounter difficulties.

In the study, published in the British Journal of General Practice, the researchers describe a number of causes behind this. Among other issues, they found a mismatch between patient and carer needs and what is provided by primary care. This included lack of GP awareness of invisible impairments, uncertainty about how primary care could help in time-limited consultations, and complexity of return-to-work issues.

Dr Anna De Simoni, lead author of the study from Queen Mary, said: “Primary care is in a crucial position to support stroke survivors successfully returning to work and address inequalities in access to vocational rehabilitation support.

“Through group discussions with stakeholders from a local community, patients, carers, GPs, occupational therapists, employer representative and clinical commissioners, we are able to put forward concrete proposals to address the barriers identified.

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