Dr Anna Bibby
Award £19,979 : Can we diagnose cancer of the lung lining (mesothelioma) by testing cancerous fluid for a gene called BAP1?
Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that affects the outside lining of the lung. In the UK, 2500 people die from mesothelioma every year, which is equivalent to one person dying every four hours.
Anna will use her funding to establish whether it is possible to diagnose mesothelioma on the fluid when it is first removed. This could allow us to make the diagnosis within two weeks of the patient’s first appointment. This would shorten the anxious, uncertain time and potentially mean patients didn’t need to have additional tests.
Anna will test a gene called BAP1, which is part of the DNA building blocks found in every cell in our bodies that make up who we are and how our bodies behave. In normal cells, the role of BAP1 is to stop tumours appearing and, if they do appear, prevent them growing. However, when mesothelioma tumours take over normal cells, the BAP1 gene disappears, which is why mesothelioma tumours can grow inside the body.
We can currently test biopsy samples for BAP1. If it has disappeared, then the diagnosis is definitely mesothelioma. We want to find out whether we can test BAP1 in fluid as well as biopsies and whether this will be a reliable test for mesothelioma.