Molecular genetics

The human body is made up of somewhere between 75-100 trillion cells. These cells are constantly growing. The growth of cells in the human body is controlled by a complex profile of proteins and molecular switches. Cancer can develop due to changes in these cells, which results in the body losing control over their growth.

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Meet the Scientists: Dr Amanda Miles on her work and experience of cancer
The John van Geest Cancer Research Centre is a unique purpose-built scientific facility in the East Midlands. Our aim is to save lives and speed recovery by improving the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In this video Doctor Amanda Miles talks about her work with the centre and her own personal experiences of cancer.

As scientists, if we can understand which genes are switched on and off, it helps to provide us with insight into the cancer process and reveals approaches that we can use to begin treating it.

We can then start to measure the activity of thousands of genes at once, using a method we call ‘gene expression profiling’. This method helps us to create a global picture of cellular function and can:

  • help us to identify cells that are actively dividing
  • tell us how the cancer functions and how it may be treated
  • reveal how cells will react to a particular treatment.

Our Genomics Research Group generates and analyses information in collaboration with the Bioinformatics Group. Key genes are identified, and their relevance is confirmed using a range of additional molecular, protein, functional and immunological procedures.

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