Verve Account Manager is 2nd author on new pancreatic cancer research

Ami as lab technician

Some of you may already know that, before joining Verve, one of our Account Managers, Ami Desai, used to be a cancer research technician. She is also a published second author on a paper for pancreatic cancer that gained national and international recognition earlier this year.

This is Ami’s account of the heart, determination, and hard work that went in to this much-needed research and her delight in seeing it published.

And now over to Ami!

My ongoing passion has always been research on pancreatic cancer, mainly because the survival rate is very low after diagnosis. Following the results of our Barts Cancer Institute research project, we finally managed to publish our manuscript that looks at a promising therapeutic target αvβ6 to treat pancreatic cancer.

You can read the full paper here.

In the beginning

My emotional and exciting journey began in 2012, but it feels like only yesterday. Working in a team of 14, we started by outlining what we hoped to achieve. Then, like all inquisitive, scientific experimental beginnings, we started with a small in vitro (lab) test on pancreatic cancer cell lines to see what would happen if we targeted them with a specific peptide. The first experiment was successful, and this success was followed by many others.

The journey

The whole team put a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and so much time in conducting experiments which involved precision and accuracy, such as counting individual cells (and I do mean individual!). We also spent endless hours on the microscope to analyse the results that we stained using many different markers to understand the mode of action of the target (these are images of the tissue samples and yet more counting of cells).

There were moments when, I am sure, we all doubted or questioned ourselves, but you persistently carry on because you’ve got that hope and trust that these efforts will be worth it. And I truly believe they were!

The accomplishment

In the lab, there are many ups and downs with experiments not always working (or, as I say, ‘behaving’) and having to do ‘just one more’ repeat to be completely sure of the results. But when it starts to come together, the excitement and anticipation of success fills you with total joy. You forget the long hours and remember why we were doing this and the impact it could have in such an important area.

What a journey it has been from lab to publication! It’s not merely submitting your first data to the journal (a process that has taken almost eight years), but it is the fact that we got there. I am so proud of all my peers who have made this important research happen.

To conclude…

I’m absolutely over the moon about the outcome of this research and that it has been picked up by the Daily Mail, the Mirror and by other national press outlets. If anyone would like more information, I’d be happy to explain more or click the links below. Thank you! Ami.

Here is a link to the press release.

You can also read more about the paper here.

Full citation of the paper:

Moore KM, Desai A, Delgado BdL, Trabulo SMD, Reader C, Brown NF, Murray ER, Brentnall A, Howard P, Masterson L, Zammarchi F, Hartley JA, van Berkel PH, Marshall JF.
Integrin αvβ6-specific therapy for pancreatic cancer developed from foot-and-mouth-disease virus. Theranostics 2020; 10(7):2930-2942. doi:10.7150/thno.38702.

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