The Institute of Cancer Research
Movember working with the Institute of Cancer Research
In the UK Movember continues to contribute funding to The Institute of Cancer Research which funds a specific research study into the genetic basis of testicular cancer. Professor Nazneen Rahman and her team have collected samples and information from almost 3000 men with testicular cancer, including over 300 families in which more than one individual has developed testicular cancer. Their research has been extremely successful and recognised internationally as the leading group in this area.
New technologies are now providing unparalleled opportunities to make new discoveries and using new DNA sequencing technology they are now able to analyse all 20,000 genes (called the ‘exome’) in months at a cost of ~£1000. Previously, this would have taken years and would have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Using support from Movember the ICR also purchased a new sequencer which allowed them to undertake exome analysis in three families that each has multiple individuals with testicular cancer. The experiment went extremely well and has resulted in millions of data points that they are now analysing to try to discover the genetic cause(s) of familial testicular cancer. Analyses have identified several genes of interest and the team now aim to undertake follow-up studies of these highlighted genes in their full series of testicular cancer cases. They are now extending the exome analyses to further testicular cancer families and are highly optimistic that this will lead to the identification of new genetic causes of testicular cancer, and that in turn will lead to improved diagnosis and management for patients with the condition, and their families.
The ICR has recently appointed Dr Clare Turnbull as a member of Faculty. Due to commence in the autumn she will lead a research team focusing specifically on testicular cancer and she and Professor Nazneen Rahman aim to undertake further research, making use of the extensive high-specification laboratory and computing facilities at ICR. Dr Turnbull is also a clinical consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital specialising in families with genetic cancers and will therefore be ideally placed to translate the research findings into the clinic for patient benefit.