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The University of Southampton

Scientists awarded new CRUK funding

Published: 28 October 2019
White blood cell
White blood cell

Cancer scientists at the University of Southampton have been awarded the Biotherapeutic Drug Discovery Award by CRUK to further their research into treating Follicular Lymphoma (FL), one of the most common lymphomas and incurable by conventional therapies.

In the three-year project, the team led Dr Francesco Forconi with Professor Mark Cragg, will develop antibodies to disrupt the interaction between the cancer cells and the environmental cells of follicular lymphoma to prevent the tumour from surviving. It is hoped the team will be able to translate their lab work into clinical treatments.

Dr Forconi said: “We need new approaches to the treatment of follicular lymphoma that can cut off the signals that keep these slowly-growing cells alive, if we are to approach the point of eradicating the malignant clones altogether. 

“The unique growth signaling in follicular lymphoma between mannosylated BCR sIg on lymphoma cells and lectins on tissue macrophages provides the opportunity to do precisely this.

“Blockade of the interaction with novel anti-lectin antibody constructs will remove these signals, providing a wholly new way to prevent regrowth by disrupting the lymphoma cells' habitat.

We are delighted that Cancer Sciences has received this award. It is the success of Southampton legacy who wishes to translate their fundamental research on the B-cell receptor into clinical intervention for lymphoma patients.

We are delighted that Cancer Sciences has received this award and hope to turn our benchside results into meaningful treatments for patients.”

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