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Kent Cancer Trust award for male fertility study at the University of Kent

Gothami Fonseka: Gothami Fonseka, a PhD student at the School of Biosciences, University of Kent, has received £8000 funding from the Kent Cancer Trust for a study that will monitor the effects of cancer and cancer treatment on male fertility.

The purpose of her study is to develop technology aimed at improving the welfare of patients who are recovering from and under treatment for cancer, specifically Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and testicular tumours. The ultimate aim is to help such patients make decisions about their future reproductive choices, i.e. to provide information about the most suitable period of time from which they can think of starting or extending their family.

By so doing, it is hoped that the study will also provide insight into the origins of gross genetic (chromosomal) alterations in the sperm of cancer patients before, during and after chemotherapy. This may have significant implications for the understanding of cancer, cancer treatment and related fertility issues.

Gothami recently presented her preliminary findings at the International Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) conference in Rome.

She said: ‘Testicular cancer and Hodgkin’s lymphoma are often diagnosed in males during their reproductive age. Both cancers have a high survival rate of 85%-90% when treated with combination chemotherapy. However, although the survival rate is good, the prospects for having children may be less so. What we aim to achieve through this study is to develop a simple test that could give patients a clearer insight into when they should try to have a family.’

Dr Mary Buchanan, Chair of Trustees, Kent Cancer Trust, commented: ‘One of Kent Cancer Trust’s basic objectives is translational research – from bench to bedside. This means that the results of cancer research undertaken in the laboratory, in conjunction with cancer clinicians in the clinic, can be used for the benefit of cancer patients. Gothami’s project epitomises this objective splendidly and we are delighted to be supporting her.’

Darren Griffin, Professor of Genetics at the School of Biosciences and Gothami Fonseka’s PhD supervisor, added: ‘I am pleased that the Kent Cancer Trust selected one of my PhD students for this project. The work of the Kent Cancer Trust is extremely important and such a collaboration can only strengthen links between biomedical research in the University and local health care. We are very proud of Gothami’s achievements and look forward to an interesting outcome to this project.’

The Kent Cancer Trust was established in 2004. It is the only charity in Kent that integrates cancer research, clinical treatments and public information. Its four main aims are to: relieve the suffering of cancer patients and improve cancer care within the Kent area; develop and train cancer clinicians, medical staff and students; promote research into the cause and treatment of cancer through new and kinder treatments; and increase public awareness and education about the cause and treatment of cancer.

For further information on the Kent Cancer Trust or to make a donation go to:


Story published at 12:25pm 19 July 2010

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