University professor joins stars in cancer fight

A leading scientist from our University has teamed up with Cancer  Research UK and Channel 4 to launch a celebrity-backed fund-raiser.

Professor Dean Fennell (pictured) from the Department of Cancer Studies stars on the new Stand Up To Cancer website with celebrities including Davina McCall, Alan Carr and Adam Hills.

Launched in the UK in 2012, Stand Up To Cancer  has already raised more than £25 million to speed up the translation of brilliant scientific discoveries into new tests and treatments for cancer patients.

Thanks to the extra funding, Professor Fennell and his team are leading an ambitious clinical trial that could weaken lung cancer cells and make them easier to treat.

Professor Fennell said: "We're extremely grateful to everyone who has supported Stand Up to Cancer so far through fund-raising. It means we're now able to look at a new way of activating the immune system to recognise mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos.

"These cells  are hard to beat because they use a shield to protect themselves from the immune system. We will be using a therapeutic antibody designed to remove this shield, which will allow the immune system to attack the mesothelioma cells . This could open up a whole new way of treating this deadly disease."

Lung cancer is the second most common cancer in the UK, claiming tens of thousands of lives every year.

Professor Fennell added: "Thanks to research, more people are surviving cancer than ever before but too many lives are still cut short. We need to fight back by raising money so research can be translated into treatments for patients faster."

People can support Stand Up To Cancer by raising money at work, school or at home.

The campaign culminates on Friday, October 21, with a night of live television on Channel 4, led by stars from film, TV and music.

Watch a video about Translational Research from Stand Up to Cancer below: