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Helen Tyrell

DPhil, Kennedy Institute


Project: Defining interactions between the cytokine il-22 and oncogenic kras as a new therapeutic target in colorectal cancer

Helen worked as a junior doctor in the Royal Berkshire, John Radcliffe, Stoke Mandeville and High Wycombe hospitals, before becoming a registrar in medical oncology at the Churchill hospital in 2014.

Helen is researching colorectal cancer, studying a molecule called tgf beta.

Patients who’ve had a colorectal cancer removed have a higher chance of the cancer coming back if their tumour has a higher level of tgf beta, and in patients with colorectal cancer that has spread higher levels of tgf beta are associated with a worse survival. The role of tgf beta in colorectal cancer is complex, as it has effects on the cancer cells, the immune cells that could potentially fight the cancer, and the supporting cells that surround the tumour. By discovering more about how this molecule works in colorectal cancer and for which patients it is a significant driver of their disease, we may be able to target this molecule as a cancer treatment.