Image of Claire Kelly

Claire Kelly

PhD Project Title ‘Investigating the role of hypoxia on brain tumour cell invasion using advanced in vitro and in vivo imaging’

In 2013, Claire graduated with a First Class (Hons) degree in Biomedical Science from Liverpool John Moores University. Claire then progressed onto a research based Masters degree at the University of Liverpool’s Cancer Research Centre, here she gained a deeper understanding of the main molecular drivers of cancer, and most importantly how these can be manipulated to kill cancer cells.

After graduating from Liverpool, and to gain more knowledge and experience on how drugs are developed and used to combat cancer, Claire joined RedX Oncology where she acquired many experimental and scientific skills.

In order to develop her academic career, Claire applied for the NWCR PhD studentship to work with Professor Harish Poptani and Dr Violaine See, investigating the role of hypoxia on brain tumour cell invasion utilising in vivo Glioblastoma models.

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a grade IV tumour of the central nervous system (CNS) and is the most common and aggressive primary brain tumour. Current standard of care consists of tumour resection where possible, followed by radio therapy and chemotherapy; improving survival to a mere 14-16 months, making GBM the deadliest brain tumour in adults.

One of the main reasons for such a poor survival is the ineffectiveness of the current treatment options; the highly invasive property of GBM tumour cells renders complete tumour excision impossible, in addition, a highly hypoxic microenvironment results in numerous genetic changes that switch on many cell survival pathways; selecting for hypoxia resistant tumour cells that are also radio and chemotherapy resistant. Therefore, in order to improve the efficacy of current treatments and to identify novel drug targets, a better understanding of how hypoxia correlates with a more aggressive disease phenotype is required.