I run a research group of approximately eight people made up of some Post Doctorates, PhD students and Post Graduate students. In our group we work on viruses to try and develop them into potential treatments for cancer.
Viruses have something of a bad press because we’re always hearing about Ebola outbreaks, Zika outbreaks and of course Measles which is topical in South Wales. Within our group we believe that if viruses are correctly trained and reprogrammed they can be very useful treatments for cancer.
First we try to understand how viruses affect normal healthy cells. By understanding this at a very detailed level we’re able to change the virus and stop it affecting normal healthy cells, and then change it further so that it will only affect cancer cells. It’s called Tumour Selective Virotherapy; viruses that are therapeutic.
Alex Baker was the first Tenovus Cancer Care funded PhD Student to join our group. His research was quite exciting because it looked at a completely different species of virus called Adenovirus Type 49. We discovered that this virus has some very interesting features that make it promising as a potential cancer treatment for the future.