Dr Shishir Shetty, a clinician scientist in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and Honorary Consultant Hepatologist, has been awarded a £1.4 million Advanced Clinician Scientist Fellowship from Cancer Research UK to further his research into liver cancer.
The five-year fellowship supports clinician scientists to further their skills in their specific area of research, developing independence and leadership.
Dr Shetty’s research is focused on hepatocellular cancer (HCC), which is the most common type of primary liver cancer, and one of the fastest rising causes of cancer-related deaths in the UK.
HCC is difficult to treat as it’s very resistant to conventional cancer therapies. Dr Shetty is studying how a family of molecules called scavenger receptors could be a new form of immunotherapy for this type of cancer, he hopes the findings will also be translatable to other solid organ tumours.
Scavenger receptors are found in the microenvironment of cancer but there still needs to be understanding into how they function in this setting and what the best approach is to target them as a potential new treatment for cancer.
The grant will provide funding for an in depth study of scavenger receptors using state of the art laboratory models of HCC and imaging techniques.
Dr Shetty explains: “We already have great infrastructure in Birmingham to make a real impact in the field of HCC. This includes the strengths of the Birmingham CRUK centre, immunology, metabolism and direct links to one of the largest centres for HCC in Europe based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
“This fellowship will allow me to work with collaborators in all these areas both locally and internationally and really boost HCC research in Birmingham.”