Research Project

Pink Events is funding much needed research

Pink Events are pleased to announce that we have agreed to fund some of the costs of the equipment and consumables for this research project at St James’s Hospital which will last two years at a total cost of £20k, after which time, the scientific findings will be published and delivered to high profile international and national scientific conferences.

Translational research is a type of research where discoveries made in the laboratory are transferred to the clinic setting. Many successful breast cancer treatments have been developed as a result of translation research, including Tamoxifen and Herceptin and these drugs have improved the outcome for patients.
However there is a subgroup of patients for whom these drugsare ineffective. For these patients with “triple negative” cancers there is an urgent need to investigate a way in which a particular molecular pathway can be targeted to improve response to chemotherapy and therefore patient survival. In addition, to give the patient smaller chemotherapy doses and reduce the side effects.
Leeds have proven expertise in breast cancer translational research, especially in the identification of cancer biomarkers and targetting molecular pathways which can be exploited to improve response to chemotherapy. Leeds has an excellent record of collaboration between scientists, surgeons, pathologists and oncologists.
Through their research they have identified a molecule which can be manipulated to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy.
However, further research is required to study how this can be used in triple negative breast cancer patients where the cancer has spread. The Laboratory work will be carried out by the research fellow in the Breast Care unit at St James’s Hospital.
If you would like to make a donation to Pink Events and help fund this valuable research project then please follow the link to our Givey donations page. If you are a UK tax payer, please consider donating with Gift Aid as we can then claim back the income tax on your donation which means that for every £5 you give we can claim back an additional £1 from HMRC turning your £5 into £6.
Thank you all for your generosity.

Ritika Rampal (Research Fellow) – Career biography

My name is Ritika Rampal and I am the newly appointed breast surgery research fellow at the department of Breast surgery Department, St. James’s University Hospital. I will start my post in October 2021 for a period of two years.

Coming from Yorkshire, I have stayed local all my life from going to medical school at Hull York Medical School, doing a BSc degree in Clinical Anatomy at University of Leeds also doing my foundation training as a junior doctor in Leeds/Harrogate. I am currently a core surgical trainee in the Yorkshire and Humber deanery.  

I am very interested in breast surgery with the aspirations of becoming an oncoplastic breast surgeon in the future. I am also a keen academic and I truly believe health research improves patient outcomes greatly and is vital to the development of any health service.

I will be working on a lab based research project (supervised by Dr Tom Hughes and Mr Baek Kim) where we are going to be researching one of the molecules (called Mucin 17) involved in triple negative breast cancer and how it can be manipulated to improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Our previous research shows that the level of this molecule predicts patient’s long term survival and also facilitates cancer spread to sites beyond the breast (i.e. into armpit glands and at other distant sites).

We will therefore examine Mucin 17 expression in cancer cells in the armpit glands and distant sites to gain better understanding of how it facilitates cancer spread and whether different tissue environment surrounding cancer cells can influence their growth. We will use breast cancer cell models in the lab to test our hypothesis that adding drugs that block the action of Mucin 17 will result in improved effectiveness of chemotherapy. This has high transferable relevance for breast cancer patients as improved effectiveness of chemotherapy will result in improved survival with potential ability to offer lower chemotherapy drug dosages which will also result in reduced side effects of chemotherapy for patients.

I am grateful to the Pink Events charity for funding the lab based breast cancer research project and am very excited to start this. The thesis from this translational breast cancer research project will lead toward an award of an MD degree from University of Leeds, which will greatly enhance my career aspiration of becoming an academic consultant oncoplastic breast surgeon.

Thank you for your support and look forward to seeing you soon in order to provide updates on the research project.

Ritika Rampal
Breast Surgery research Fellow
Department of Breast Surgery
St. James’s University Hospital

Breast Cancer Charity