Universities Australia - Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme to spend three months visiting and conducting experiments in Neubauer’s laboratory. “This was a fantastic experience. The research lab was within the hospital, so the breast cancer research is done right next to where their patient samples are being processed. “They had nearly 20 people in their large research group, not just working on PGRMC1, but as a whole. Being part of a bigger research group is nice because we only have a couple of students here working in this area. I got to see some other projects involving breast cancer and detection of circulating tumour cells through patient samples, which was really interesting.” Sarah said her time in the German labs also yielded some exciting results. “The experiments themselves worked really, really well and we are now looking into the structure and function of the inhibitor of PGRMC1, which is called AG-205. The idea now is to do a mouse model involving PGRMC1 expression.”
way to treat cancer – things like chemotherapy and radiotherapy are very damaging to the surrounding tissues and to the patient’s health. It’s better for us to try and develop targeted therapies for the proteins that are differentially expressed in the cancers. “I think that is how it will eventually go – when you’re diagnosed with cancer, you will have some sort of profiling done for your proteins that are different and then these will be targeted in therapies to decrease both tumour size and growth.” While that is an exciting prospect, Sarah takes a realistic view of her research and necessarily keeps her focus tight. “It’s a little bit like a big jigsaw puzzle and we’re just working on one small piece.
Sarah’s research is contributing to what we know about cancer cells. “Pancreatic cancer in particular is one of the most aggressive cancers with one of the poorest survival rates, and that’s why we’ve been looking at this. Ultimately, we’re looking to improve treatment therapies. “It’s really important for us to find which pathways are altered in cancer cell biology and how different proteins affect the cells. Right now, there isn’t an ideal
“Pancreatic cancer in particular is one of the most aggressive cancers with one of the poorest survival rates, and that’s why we’ve been looking at this. Ultimately, we’re looking to improve treatment therapies."
“There are many things we could be looking at in lots of different places, and there are a lot of people working on these sorts of projects. We need to find out all of the things that are happening at the same time so we can get the bigger picture. But it looks like PGRMC1 really seems to be responsible for something quite significant in cancer cell biology and it might prove to be involved in a new target for pancreatic cancer.”
The National Life Sciences Hub at CSU in Wagga Wagga
CHARLES STURT UNIVERSITY ALUMNI