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Clinical Research Grant - 2019

Large nerve perineural spread

Multimodal assessment of perineural spread in Head & Neck Cancer and development of a Head & Neck Research Unit
Dr Ryan Sommerville

Project Description

The project aims to develop a head and neck cancer and skull base research unit with two initial concurrent projects to assess perineural spread of cancer, as part of a short, medium and long-term plan to research capacity. The first is assessment of the prognostic value of receptors CXCR4, PD-1 and CD8 T cell levels with a comparison to clinical outcomes. Blockade of these pathways via tailored immunotherapy used in similar situations may lead to significant improvements in survival. The second project assesses Ultra-high resolution 3T and 7T MRI for preoperative assessment of extent of perineural disease from advanced head and neck skin cancer. Significant potential exists due to the size of the H+N and skull base unit, the highest levels of skin cancer in the world, and the associated institutions such as the Herston Imaging Research Facility, the QIMR and the Centre for Advanced Imaging at the UQ. With an underutilized prospective database of skull base perineural cancer patients that goes back to 2012, there would be a significant increase in research capacity by employing a research assistant who would assist in project development, patient and database management.

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