When Dr Mhairi Morris’ nine-year-old daughter asked her across the breakfast table if it was possible to “catch cancer”, the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences academic laughed and joked “of course you can’t, it’s far too fast”.
This witty one-liner got her thinking though, could it be possible to “outrun” the big C? How much of an impact does diet and lifestyle have on cancer risk and prevention?
Mhairi is determined to find out and as part of her mission to do so, she is developing novel 3D models to try and understand the disease.
She discusses her research with VOLUME and her hopes for the future of cancer analysis.
We are not mice
“We are not mice!”, Mhairi tells a room of leading sport exercise experts as part of her talk at the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine’s inaugural ‘Why is Moving Medicine?’ conference.
It may seem like an obvious statement, yet in the world of cancer research, mice are still used to grow tumours in a bid to mimic what is happening in human patients.
“Even if you put a human tumour in a mouse, it is surrounded by different types of mouse cell types – what we call ‘mouse stromal cells’ – therefore it’s not reflective of the human tumour microenvironment.
“We need to be looking elsewhere if we want to better understand this disease.”