Funding boost for research on malignant germ cell tumours

Members of the Murray/Coleman group at the Dept of Pathology, University of Cambridge
New funding has been awarded by the Little Princess Trust for research on malignant germ cell tumours in teenagers and young adults.

The funding for this rare hard-to-treat cancer has been awarded to Paediatric Cancer Programme member Dr Cinzia Scarpini, who is based in the Murray/Coleman group at the Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge.

The project will expand on the team's research exploring the role of short non-coding RNA expression in germ cell tumours, and how could this improve treatment.

Malignant germ cell tumours derive from egg and sperm forming cells, so primarily affect the ovaries and testes but can occur in other sites too.

This type of cancer is rare in children, affecting only around 50 each year in the UK, but is more common in teenagers and young adults.

Dr Scarpini said: “Although most patients with germ cell tumours do well, some high-risk patients have poor outcomes.

We are aiming to develop new and more effective treatments for germ cell tumours. We hope this will give children and young people with these tumours the best chance of survival with a good quality of life."

In this project, the research team led by Dr Cinzia Scarpini will look at short non-coding RNA levels in germ cell tumours and how altering these levels impact tumour growth and aggressiveness. They will then investigate different potential treatments, including in combination with existing therapies, to augment treatment effects and reduce side effects.

Dr Scarpini added: “Our team is genuinely over the moon to receive this funding! It is exciting to know that we will soon understand much more about how short non-coding RNAs affect germ cell tumours. This knowledge will allow us to develop more effective treatments for children and young people.

"We are so grateful to the Little Princess Trust and all their supporters for their generosity. Without it, we would not be in a position to push this important work forward.”

28 May 2024