ICGEB Cape Town researchers awarded South African NRF funding for Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers

ICGEB Cape Town researchers, Dr Stefano Cacciatore, Bioinformatics Unit Programme Officer, and Dr Mariet Wium, Cancer Genomics Group Senior Scientist, have been awarded funding from the South African National Research Foundation for Competitive Support for Unrated Researchers.

Dr Cacciatore’s project ‘Molecular Characterization of Distinct Serum Metabolic Profiles of Patients with Pancreatic Cancer’ and Dr Wium’s project ‘The Role of MiRNAs in AxL-Mediated Docetaxel and Carbazitaxel Resistance‘ will both be funded for a duration of three years, from 2022-2024.

Commenting on the benefit of his research to South African patients, Dr Cacciatore explains, ‘The outcome of this research will benefit South African patients with pancreatic cancer by earlier and improved recognition of the aggressive form of the disease, reducing delays in differential diagnosis and earlier therapeutic intervention. In the short term, we aim to uncover the mechanisms of pancreatic cancers aggressiveness that lead to a systemic modulation of the serum metabolome. In the long term, it could be important for opening the door to the development of new therapy for South African patients’.

Highlighting the importance of her Project, Dr Wium stresses that ‘Cancer poses a major public health problem and significant research efforts should be increased, especially in the novel and promising areas (non-coding-RNAs) that can bring us new strategies to fight this devastating illness. This project is highly relevant for basic and translational prostate cancer research combining the fields of miRNA research and proteomics. The success of this project will contribute to the understanding of the fundamental biological processes involving drug resistance and, additionally, it may have translational applications. The project focuses on an unmet need and therefore has the potential to produce results with scientific, clinical, and social impact’.

For further reading: ICGEB Cancer Genomics Group, ICGEB Bioinformatics Unit, and South African National Research Foundation