Children's Tumor Foundation award for Plymouth researcher

IMAGE: Dr. Lu Zhou from Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Zhou has been awarded the Young Investigator's Award by the Children's Tumor Foundation

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Dr. Lu Zhou, a member of a team of researchers at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry whose area of expertise is brain tumours, has been awarded a fellowship by the Children's Tumor Foundation.

The Children's Tumor Foundation is a US-based charity which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of children with multiple tumours of the brain, neurofibromatosis (NF). By supporting research in this area it is hoped that therapies and cures may be developed for a condition for which the only treatments are invasive surgery and/or Chemotherapy.

Dr Zhou has been awarded the charity's Young Investigator Award, part of a programme that provides support for pre- and post-doctoral researchers pursuing careers in NF research. The award provides two years of salary ($108,000) and a $5,000 allowance over the life of the award to support attendance at the Foundation's annual NF Conference as well as other conferences and events relevant to NF.

The research that has attracted this award has seen Dr. Zhou investigate the role of certain proteins in the mechanisms that cause the growth and proliferation of NF tumours. By understanding how the mechanisms work, Dr. Zhou and his colleagues can develop therapies based on existing drugs which could halt the spread of NF tumours – contributing greatly to the Quality of life and survival rates of NF sufferers.

Dr. Zhou has worked in NF research since 2008, when he joined Professor Oliver Hanemann's world-recognised research group. Under Professor Hanemann's supervision, Dr. Zhou has developed his expertise and he has had research published in prestigious journals such as Cell, Neoplasia and Oncogene. His work has also received funding from Cancer Research UK.

He said: "I am delighted to receive the Children's Tumor Foundation; Young Investigator Award. It will help me to establish myself as an independent NF researcher and also network with other scientists in the field of NF research. This is not just good news for me – it is also good news for our research team which is taking a lead in innovative research designed to target NF."