Identification of the causal events leading to metastasis in solid tumours using explainable AI and genome-scale metabolic (GSM) models
Cancer metastasis or the spreading of a tumour around the body is a critical event for patients. Once a tumour has spread, a clinical team is trying to treat several different tumours often in hard-to-reach locations.
Understanding the events that enable tumours to spread around the body is essential for developing effective treatment options and improving survival from tumours. A further benefit is potentially identifying earlier patients who are most at risk of severe spreading of a tumour.
The research focuses on understanding how variations of DNA in participants affects how easily those participants' tumours escaped and moved around the body.
In particular the research will focus on changes affecting how tumours take on-board nutrients and energy from their environments and uses these during growth and spreading.
The research will focus on pancreatic, bowel and lung cancers and will have implications for controlling solid tumours more broadly.
The proposed research attempts to understand the molecular events leading and driving metastasis in solid tumours. It will focus on understanding the role of metabolism-driven changes that enable solid tumours to grow quickly in challenging nutrient and oxygen supply conditions, and migrate, survive and grow during cancer spreading.
The research will focus initially on Pancreatic Cancer (Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma) and will extend to include lung cancer, bowel cancers where research will include investigating overlap between fundamental metabolic reprogramming spanning common solid tumours.
If successful this research will deliver new insights into how tumours spread and identify potential "weak-links" in how a tumour uses nutrients and energy that could be used to develop a future medicine that helps to stop the spreading of tumours around the body.