Summer Student Foram Dave
Supervised by Dr Sylwia Ammoun at Plymouth University, Foram Dave is using a human cell culture model to study cells from brain tumour patients and test drugs, allowing a faster ‘bench to bedside’ transition into clinical trials without animal tests.
Foram is coming to the end of her PhD in neuro-oncology. This summer project has provided her with an excellent opportunity to further her PhD project to help fully understand the role of a group of receptors (TAM family) in a particular type of brain tumour (Merlin deficient).
The significance of her research project lies in the use of tumour cells (schwannomas and meningiomas) derived directly from patients. This is instead of experimenting on animals – who may not have the same tumour formation process as humans.
By culturing primary brain tumour cells, Foram was able to use high throughput techniques to analyse the tumour microenvironment, study aberrant signalling pathways and screen potential new drug treatments, as well as re-profiling drugs currently approved for the treatment of other diseases.
This primary human cell approach prevents unnecessary animal testing and animal suffering, while also minimising the gap between the bench and bedside. It will ultimately speed up the process of getting a drug approved for patient use.