Press Release

Dundee scientist gets cancer research back on track

Published on 21 August 2020

A Dundee scientist is getting on his bike for Cancer Research UK and is urging others to do the same to help get vital research back on track after the impact of the pandemic.

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Dr de la Vega standing by bike

A Dundee scientist is getting on his bike for Cancer Research UK and is urging others to do the same to help get vital research back on track after the impact of the pandemic.

Dr Laureano de la Vega, a cancer researcher at the University of Dundee's School of Medicine, is calling on people of all ages and abilities – from seasoned cyclists to recent converts – to sign up for the charity’s Cycle 300 challenge.

Participants can choose how, when and where to clock up 300 miles on a bike in September to raise money for life-saving research. 

Dr de la Vega is keen to show how pedal power can make a crucial difference to people diagnosed with the disease. He said, “I love cycling and like many families during lockdown we have enjoyed the mental and physical benefits of spending more time exercising on our bikes.

"I think Cycle 300 is a great way to raise money for Cancer Research UK’s vital research. Participants can choose how and when to do it, so that it fits in with their lifestyle and commitments.”

Dr de la Vega’s research is focused on finding new ways to treat lung cancer and a type of breast cancer called triple negative breast cancer, which can be more difficult to treat and can have a poorer outlook that other types of breast cancer. Research suggests that around 15 out of every 100 breast cancers (15%) are triple negative.

He and his team are trying to identify new ways to impair tumour growth and to avoid the development of resistance to chemotherapy. 

COVID-19 forced Dr de la Vega and his team to hang up their lab coats during lockdown. Five months on, this vital work is slowly re-starting - but with new safety measures in place in the lab and complex experiments to recover, it could take some time to get back up and running at full speed. 

Dr de la Vega added, “I’d like to encourage as many people as possible to get into gear and help raise money by signing up for Cycle 300. Anyone who raises money will be helping to get Cancer Research UK’s vital research back on track after the impact of the pandemic.”

Thanks to the generosity of its supporters, Cancer Research UK currently funds around 50 per cent of all publicly funded cancer research in the UK. However, as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, promising projects which could have the big answers to cancer are being held up.

Victoria Steven, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Scotland, said: “We are very grateful to Dr de la Vega for his support and hope it will start a chain-reaction, sparking the interest among cyclists of all ages and abilities.

“Cycle 300 is the perfect opportunity to combine all the benefits of cycling, the thrill of a physical challenge and the fantastic sense of achievement from raising money for a great cause, all at the same time.

“COVID-19 put so much of our research on pause and the cancellation of fundraising events, as well as the temporary closure of our Cancer Research UK shops, has left the charity facing an income crisis where every day and every pound counts.

“With around 32,400 people diagnosed with cancer each year in Scotland, we will never stop striving to create better treatments. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we are encouraging as many people as possible to sign up to Cycle 300 and use pedal power to help research move forward.”

For more information on the fundraising challenge, or to sign up for a free fundraising pack, visit www.cruk.org/cycle300

Notes to editors

Image by Andy Thompson                                                                                                                                                             

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Jessica Rorke

Media Relations Officer

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jrorke001@dundee.ac.uk