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ICR’s microscope appeal raises £50,000 for cutting-edge research

Professor Jon Pines, Head of the Division of Cancer Biology at the ICR

Professor Jon Pines, Head of the Division of Cancer Biology at the ICR

A new fundraising appeal by The Institute of Cancer Research, London, for research using a new type of high-tech microscope has raised an amazing £50,000.

The Understanding Cell Division appeal will support Professor Jonathon Pines and his team to use a lattice light sheet microscope, which uses highly focused laser beams to image proteins inside cells.

The appeal, which went live on Saturday 18 June, has raised £50,301 including Gift Aid from almost 1,500 separate donations.

The money donated will help us to understand better how cancer develops when the complex process of cell division goes wrong, and could aid in the discovery of new cancer drugs.

A powerful new imaging technology

The lattice light sheet microscope is a powerful new imaging technology which can reveal details of cellular structures that aren’t visible using normal light.

The microscope uses Bessel beams — highly focused laser beams which are swept across samples to image proteins inside cells in real time. Scientists can use this technology to understand the function of proteins within cells and work out what drug molecules might block their activity to help defeat cancer.

The new appeal is asking members of the public to support our researchers in their use of this innovative new technology.

The appeal includes a video from Professor Pines explaining how the lattice light sheet microscope will allow ICR researchers to analyse cell division in unprecedented detail.

We posted messages on Facebook and sent letters and emails to supporters of the ICR. The response has been extremely positive.

Animation of C. elegans embryo undergoing cell division

C. elegans embryo. Localization of the chromosomal passenger protein AIR-2 during the first few cell divisions of the early C. elegans embryo (cf., Fig. 6A, fig. S12). Credit: Betzig Lab, HHMI/Janelia Research Campus, Bembenek Lab, University of Tennessee; 10/24/14 issue of the journal Science.


Innovative new technology

Lara Jukes, Director of Development at the ICR, said: “Researchers at the ICR couldn’t carry out all of their amazing work without the support provided by our generous donors. We’re so grateful for all of the money that has been raised for research using this exciting new piece of equipment.

“The fundamental research Professor Pines does is incredibly important to help understand the mechanisms cancer cells use to grow and survive. The support we have seen for this microscopy appeal is fantastic and will help our researchers use innovative new technology to probe the machinery that controls cell division as it occurs, which could lead to more effective and precise treatments.”

Professor Pines, Head of Cancer Biology at the ICR, was recently announced as a new Fellow of the Royal Society, and is a world-leading cancer scientist specialising in the fundamental processes that control cell division.

The ICR will be the first research organisation in the UK to receive the new type of lattice light sheet microscope, which will be installed in Professor Pines’ lab in September.

You can still donate to support the pioneering research Professor Pines and his team will be working on, using the new microscope.

Click here to donate now

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