A COUPLE who are developing drugs that hunt out and destroy cancer cells without causing harmful side effects are asking the people of Southampton to Stand Up To Cancer.

Based at the University of Southampton's Centre for Cancer Immunology, Professor Sally Ward and Professor Raimund Ober are creating antibody-drug conjugate (ADC).

Sally finds ways to engineer antibodies to detect cancer cells, while Raimund uses his skills to develop new super-resolution imaging techniques to study how Sally’s creations are working.

Sally said: "The drugs we are developing only target cancer cells, which means we can offer a lower dose of treatment that is better for the patient, but is still effective in shrinking tumours.

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"Previously, treatments have also attacked healthy cells, which can make people really unwell and cause unpleasant side effects such as nerve pain and liver toxicity."

The ADC drug is already effective in treating breast cancer and lymphoma, but the couple hope to develop it further.

Sally uses a molecular glue to stick an anti-cancer drug to the antibodies, which then seeks out the cancerous cells.

She has developed an approach that 'turbocharges' the delivery process of the drug that kills the cancer cell, while leaving the healthy cells intact, reducing the side effects experienced by the patient.

Their research is supported by Stand Up To Cancer and the couple is asking people to help fundraise on Friday, October 15 to enable research like theirs to happen.

Raimund said: "It costs millions of pounds to get a breakthrough in the laboratory to the patient, and the money raised for Stand Up To Cancer can help us to do that.

"We hope that people will take part in the charity’s fundraising challenges so that we can turn our scientific discoveries into treatments that will help save lives."

People of all ages and abilities are being encouraged to Stand Up To Cancer by getting sponsored to stand up all day, or for as long as they can, on Friday, October 15.

Elisa Mitchell, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Hampshire, said: "We are very grateful to Sally and Raimund for helping us to continue our mission.

"The challenge itself might be harder than it sounds, but our tireless scientists, like Raimund and Sally, face their own feats of endurance to constantly develop tests and treatments for those who need them most. If we all stand together, we can save lives."