Currently a postdoctoral researcher in the University's Department of Oncology, Dr O’Neill will join NDS from July 2023. The award from Prostate Cancer UK will enable him to lead a project investigating novel drug combinations with radionuclide therapy.
Dr O'Neill’s research will focus on improving radionuclide therapy for prostate cancer, a new form of targeted radiation therapy that seeks out and irradiates prostate tumour cells within the body. While showing encouraging response rates in the clinic, there is very little understanding of how prostate cancers respond to this radiation treatment. He will use advanced prostate patient derived organoids as a model system of prostate cancer to understand how best to improve this radiation treatment, particularly with small micrometastases that cannot be seen by PET imaging. Dr O'Neill has previously identified some novel drug combinations that appear to exploit some of the biological responses to radionuclide therapy in prostate cancer and it is hoped that these organoid models will provide valuable insight into how these treatments might work together in a patient.
I am excited at the opportunity to push the boundaries of this new radiation treatment to provide more and better years to men impacted by metastatic prostate cancer - Dr Edward O'Neill
Dr O'Neill’s Prostate Cancer UK Career Acceleration Fellowship will establish a new collaboration with prostate cancer researchers, Professor Gail Risbridger and Professor Renea Taylor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia who collated and characterised this collection of patient derived organoids as part of the MURAL collection. His goal is to identify promising novel drug combinations that will improve outcomes for prostate cancer patients in the clinic, based upon a greater understanding of how these treatments work.
Commenting on his success, Dr O'Neill said: 'I am really honoured to be given this award and am excited at the opportunity to push the boundaries of this new radiation treatment to provide more and better years to men impacted by metastatic prostate cancer.'
Simon Grieveson, Assistant Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said: 'Our mission is to stop prostate cancer limiting and ending men’s lives — and the research community is at the heart of that.
'We invest in the brightest minds in the field of prostate cancer research, from established world-renowned experts to the next generation of scientists. Over the past year alone, Prostate Cancer UK has invested over £9.5m into projects that drive forward earlier diagnoses and better treatments.
'I’m proud that our Career Acceleration Fellowships are boosting the vital work of researchers like Dr Edward O'Neill, and I’m excited to see this project expand our understanding around the use of targeted radiation therapies for treating prostate cancer. Applications for this year’s Fellowships are open now, until 1 June.'
Prostate Cancer UK Career Acceleration Fellowships provide up to £350K of funding for the most promising early career postdoctoral researchers to pursue their own independent research goals, and accelerate their career trajectories to ultimately ensure they make the biggest impact for men affected by prostate cancer.
Find out more about Career Acceleration Fellowships and Dr O'Neill's research on the Prostate Cancer UK website.