Adamantinoma is a rare primary bone cancer that occurs primarily in the shinbone. There are currently no effective treatments for adamantinoma beyond surgery and currently, clinicians are unable to predict which patients are more likely to suffer a recurrence and / or progress to metastatic disease.

Consequently, there is an urgent need for both new treatments options and predictive biomarkers in adamantinoma, which can help monitoring the progression of this type of primary bone cancer.

Dr Katherine Finegan and her research group research group at the University of Manchester, have already shown that two proteins that act together in cancer cells, named MEK5 and EKR5 (MAPK kinase 5-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5), are key for the development and spread of osteosarcoma.

This project proposes to investigate if MEK5-ERK5 also control adamantinoma development, and if their presence and activity can be a used as new marker, to track the recurrence or spread of adamantinoma

What are the aims of this research project?

To do this, the team will quantify the levels of MEK5 and ERK5 in samples from adamantinoma patients and will determine if the proteins are indeed “switched on” and driving cancer; they will also relate this information to the disease progression of the patients.

Dr Finegan’s group is currently studying several drugs that inhibit MEK5/ERK5. Therefore, the second objective of the project, is to test if these drugs can prevent adamantinoma cells from growing, and also if they can reduce their potential to move to other parts of the body.

How could this project improve treatment options for adamantinoma patients?

Successful completion of this project will provide evidence of the role of MEK5/ERK5 in adamantinoma and whether their inhibitors could ultimately benefit adamantinoma patients.

Funding for this pioneering research into adamantinoma has been made possible by The Liz Clarke-Saul Fund.

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