I can finally reveal that my lab will be starting a new programme of research thanks to funding from Hannah’s Willberry Wonder Pony!

The charity was set up by an inspirational young lady Hannah Francis who was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma at the age of 17. Hannah had to endure many months of pain from the cancer, as well as suffer the terrible side effects of the various chemotherapeutic treatments she had. During this time she had great support from her family, friends and with the help of Willberry, the equestrian and cyber communities! Sadly, Hannah lost her brave battle aged just 18, but she left behind an amazing legacy that is helping other seriously ill people enjoy memorable equine experiences – granted by Willberry’s wishes, and also funding research specifically into osteosarcoma.

The funding will enable a Post-Doctoral researcher and a PhD student to work together to screen over 4,500 existing drugs and compounds (most of which have already been found to be safe in humans) to see if they can be effective in killing Osteosarcoma, either alone or with existing chemotherapy drugs. At the same time a BMedSci student project will also work on using next generation sequencing to find out how Osteosarcoma cells become resistant to the existing chemotherapy drugs.

We can’t wait to get started on this project and will be advertising posts in the near future. But for now at least we have one new recruit- a direct descendant of Willberry, AllieBerry (not to be confused with Halle Berry!). She’ll be keeping a close eye on us and will make sure that we do Hannah proud in #kickingcancersbutt

More information about our new venture can be found in the official press release as well as on Willberry’s blog.