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Improving treatment for people with lymphoma

Professor Fitzgibbon and his team want to understand how changes in the coating of our DNA can lead to lymphomas and want to find ways to target treatments towards this.

The challenge

Every cell in our body contains DNA, which is essential for cells to carry out day-to-day activities. DNA is incredibly important and also fragile, so our cells wrap it up in a coating called chromatin to protect it. However, if this coating changes or mutates, it can cause cells to become cancerous and this project wants to understand this further.

The project

Professor Fitzgibbon and his team were the first team in the world to find that people with lymphoma often have changes in genes that make up the coating which surround DNA and will explore this further to see if they can target these treatments and find new treatments for people with lymphoma.

The team currently don’t fully understand what these changes mean, and they think a number of changes work in tandem to cause a cell to turn cancerous or to resist treatments. They will explore this further throughout this project.

The future

The team hope that this research will lead to the development of new treatments for people with lymphoma. They have already helped to develop a treatment called tazemetostat which can reverse some of the changes to coating they see and they hope this research will help identify people who will benefit from this treatment.