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Research Fellows Directory

Sandra Gomez Lopez

Dr Sandra Gomez Lopez

Research Fellow


University College London

Research summary

Lung cancer is the commonest cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Despite advances in the treatment of lung cancer, it continues to be the major contributor to cancer-related mortality in the UK, accounting for around 22% of deaths. One third of incurable invasive lung cancers develop from pre-invasive lesions in the trachea and bronchi. However, not all of these lesions give rise to cancer, and indeed, some regress spontaneously. Elucidating the biological differences between the lesions that progress and those that do not will allow us to identify key molecular alterations driving lung carcinogenesis.

My studies will determine which cell types in the normal airways initiate pre-invasive lesions. By tracking the growth of pre-invasive lesions and their contribution to invasive lung cancer, I expect to identify distinguishing features between progressive and regressive lesions. Moreover, I am conducting functional analyses to establish whether beta-catenin, a protein abnormally expressed in pre-invasive lesions, controls lesion formation and/or progression. Together, my studies will provide a better understanding of the cellular processes leading to formation of incurable invasive lung cancer. This knowledge is expected to provide a basis for the design of novel therapeutic strategies to improve patient outcomes.

Grants awarded

Resolving clonal dynamics in pre-invasive lung cancer lesions

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Oct 2016 - Sep 2018

Value: £99,000