Our unique approach and promise
Cancer is a complex disease, like a ‘pathological universe’! The cancer research supported PCRF is unique, originating from 25 years’ of experience on the brain, a ‘biological universe’. Hence, we call it “neuroscience solutions to cancer”! Every cell in the human body has some electrical properties, most readily seen as the electrocardiogram of a beating heart. Professor Djamgoz was first to question whether electrical signalling played a part in metastasis, the spreading of cancer and the main cause of death in cancer patients. He discovered that in order to metastasise cancer cells express a “voltage-gated sodium channel” (VGSC) at a high level and become excitable, rather like neurons in an epileptic brain. In other words, it seems that it is this excitability that makes metastatic cancer cells hyperactive and aggressive. Such cells disrupt and invade their surroundings and once they hit a blood or lymph vessel and get into the circulation, they can spread around the body and disrupt various vital organs. Blocking this channel using drugs or genetically suppresses the cells’ invasiveness. This phenomenon has been confirmed in many other international laboratories. We discovered it originally in prostate cancer. It has now been extended by us and others to cancers of breast, colon, lung (small-cell, non-small-cell and mesothelioma), cervix and ovary. The VGSC is integral to the metastatic process being regulated by hormones and growth factors well known to be involved in cancer. The VGSC has other important characteristics that make it an ideal target for attacking cancer. First, it is expressed very early in the metastatic process and since early detection will save lives, it gives an indication of how the cancer will progress thereby facilitating the decision making regarding surgery and/or appropriate therapy. Second, it can be blocked with drugs that are not toxic. So, VGSC-based therapies will be ‘targeted’ without any of the debilitating side effects of treatments like chemotherapy.
We are proud of PCRF’s achievements in not only generating a new vision of the metastatic process but also for promising early detection and non-toxic therapy of cancer. All this promises to improve the quality of lives of cancer patients and giving a new meaning and heightened chance to ‘living with cancer’.
How is PCRF different?
- Our research focus is unique and exploits the immense wealth of knowledge from neuroscience. A major aim is to understand how specific surface membrane ion-channel proteins of cancer cells differ from those of normal cells. These differences can then be used to detect and eliminate malignancy. This is proving viable against a range of solid tumours, including cancers of prostate, breast, lung (various forms), colon, ovary and cervix.
- We have close national and international collaboration with clinical and other biomedical scientists with diverse backgrounds, giving the research a strong multi-disciplinary flavour, thus maximizing its impact.
- The research results are published in peer-reviewed international journals – proof of the extremely high quality of our work.
- PCRF supports research at Imperial College London, a pioneering UK research institution, currently ranked 9th in the world.
- All donations go directly towards supporting research. There is minimal administration cost and absolutely no frills!