York Against Cancer (YAC) provides funding to the Jack Birch Unit (JBU) so that it can continue to produce high quality research into the urothelium and bladder cancer. Over the last five years funding from YAC has been used to support important research in a variety of ways outlined below. These include using money for funding positions and buying equipment.
Some funding is used to partially or fully support salaries for director, deputy, administrator, 3 technical staff and a Phd Student.
Recently YAC had it's 30th year anniversary. In celebration of this they have funded a research fellowship into cancer informatic which was awarded to Dr Andrew Mason
Equipment is also required for a functioning lab. Over the last five years funds from YAC have paid for or contributed to several items of equipment:
The JBU had to previously rely on the NHS Research Ethics Committee to approve sample collection for each individual project. This was a time consuming process which got in the way of research. What complicated matters even more was that depending on patient consent samples must either be destroyed or tissues moved to a registered tissue bank when the project ended.
However the JBU now has its own NHS research ethics committee approved research tissue bank called URoBank. This allows collaboration between scientists and clinicians whose interests lie in urothelial tissue research and will hopefully lead to new therapies for poorly understood or managed urological conditions.
The major advantage of URoBank is that tissues collected have the broad and enduring consent of their donors, which enables us to approve the use of samples for internal or external collaborations without further ethical review. The introduction of URoBank has brought about a dramatic improvement in the JBU's efficiency.
There is a lack of local access to staged and graded primary cancer tissues. In a collaboration with the University of Regensburg they have provided tissue microarrays which represent central and invasive regions of muscle invasive bladder cancer from 60 patients with clinical histories. These have been used to study co-expression of transcription factors and other candidate proteins which might be exploited by tumours to increase their tumour growth.
The JBU Director has also been successful as a coinvestigator on a recently-awarded Digital Spatial Profiling platform (NanoString) that will enable highly multiplexed RNA or protein detection in combination with conserved spatial resolution.
Over the last 4 years the JBU has published 18 peer reviewed primary research articles as well as 4 invited reviews. There was also successful completion of doctoral dissertations by 10 PhD and 2 MD candidates.
Areas of research covered over the last 4 years include:
The JBU recently had their five year programme granted from YAC, over the next five years the JBUs research areas will be: