University researchers studying cancer have been given a boost with an investment of €2.5 million following the Italian Terzo Pilastro Foundation’s partnership with the Malta Trust Foundation and Malta University, leading to the establishment of the Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation. The investment has led to the purchase of new equipment to help researchers in their cancer research work. This means the University laboratories are now well-equipped and research work will be undertaken with greater speed and efficiency.
Researcher Professor Christian Scerri said there are some – including himself – working on aspects of chest cancers, while others research intestinal cancer, lung cancer and brain cancers in children.
In a comment to TVM, Professor Scerri explained that equipment had been purchased that will identify cancer emanating directly from blood.
He said that when a biopsy takes place this means a tumour has been located through an X-Ray or an Ultrasound. A sample is then extracted through an operation or by means of a needle. This will determine the type of tumour and how it may be treated. The equipment for liquid biopsy if locating cancer cells in blood.
Another investment is in equipment that analyses types of cancer and gives immediate and precise results.
He said there are 300 different cancers or otherwise 300 pieces of the same cancer. Certain stains are taken and studied and if these are brown this shows it is breast cancer and HER 2 Positive and this can be targeted and treated with particular medicines.
The new equipment, worth its weight in gold to researchers, is the fruit of collaboration between the Malta Trust Foundation, the Foundation Terzo Pilastro in Italy and Malta University.
President Emeritus, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, said an investment of €2.5 million has already been made in research equipment for the University and the Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation is aimed to be a global platform. There is also hope that in future this collaboration will enable the sharing of clinical trials and this will directly benefit Maltese patients.
She said there are plans to further invest €2 million in the Emanuele Cancer Research Foundation to put Malta in the forefront in the fight against cancer.