Research Focus Area: Colorectal cancer
Croi graduated with a B.Sc. Honours degree in Human Health and Disease from Trinity College Dublin in 2016, having completed her final year project in the University of Göttingen, Germany. In 2017 Croi completed the M.Sc. in Translational Oncology, run by the department of Surgery in Trinity College Dublin. She was then given the opportunity to undertake a Ph.D with Dr. Niamh Lynam-Lennon. Her project focuses on the role of cellular metabolism in the response of rectal cancer to radiation therapy, and is funded by the Health Research Board (HRB).
Rectal cancer (often described together with cancer of the colon as ‘colorectal cancer’ or ‘bowel cancer’) is a common cancer in Ireland and worldwide, with poor survival rates. Chemo-radiation therapy has been demonstrated to be very effective for some patients with rectal cancer to shrink tumours before surgery. However, a large proportion of patients who receive this treatment have a poor response, and their tumours do not decrease in size as intended. This means that patients can often face a delay to surgery, and undergo undesirable effects of radiation without any gain. Previous work in our department has shown that cancer cell metabolism (how cells get their energy to survive and grow) is associated with response to radiation therapy in oesophageal cancer. Building on this research, Croi’s project is looking at whether the energy metabolism of rectal cancer cells is also associated with whether or not patients respond to radiation therapy. She is also investigating if we can improve response of cancer cells to radiation, possibly providing a future alternative therapy for patients predicted not to respond to normal treatment. Hopefully in the future, this may allow to us stratify patients according to their predicted response to radiation therapy, to improve their treatment plan and therefore improve their chance at survival.