Master’s students publish group study on cancer drug resistance

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Research undertaken by postgraduate Master’s students in the School of Biosciences at the University of Kent has been published in the journal PLOS One.

The study, investigating mechanisms of cellular resistance to platinum-based drugs in neuroblastoma, was the result of collaborative team research by students undertaking the MSc Cancer Biology. Each student, working on an independent project, contributed specific data as part of an extended research project that forms part of the course.

The collective cancer research project was coordinated by Prof. Martin Michaelis, with the support of academic staff that work in the cancer area. The aim was to use the breadth of cancer research expertise among academic staff within the School of Biosciences, with students paired with academic supervisors to explore cellular drug resistance pathways through multiple modes of investigation. These included analysis of cellular viability, cytogenetics, cellular migration, cross-resistance profiling, proteomics, cell cycle regulation, cellular metabolism and signalling pathways, to develop an overall model for acquired platinum drug resistance in neuroblastoma cell lines. Supported by academic supervisors and PhD students within the School, all 15 students on the MSc Cancer Biology contributed original data to the study and are co-authors of the publication.

These students – now graduates of the MSc Cancer Biology – have since taken on a range PhD studentships, research assistant and clinical trial roles at institutions that include the Universities of Bath, Cambridge, Canterbury Christchurch and Southampton, Imperial College, King’s College London, Viapath and Novartis. Students on all of the School’s MSc programmes engage in research projects under the guidance of academic experts, and the School is developing plans to promote a culture of publication of this work among its students.

The article by Saintas et al, entitled “Acquired resistance to oxaliplatin is not directly associated with increased resistance to DNA damage in SK-N-ASrOXALI4000, a newly established oxaliplatin-resistant sub-line of the neuroblastoma cell line SK-N-AS”, is published in PLOS One.