KHUDIJA AMNAH QADIR KHAN | New way to treat bone cancer

Updated: Dec 31, 2021

​​Meet Amnah

My name is Amnah Khan, I am from Pakistan. I earned my Bachelor’s degree from MCAST and I am proud to be the first student who progressed from MCAST to the Masters programme at the University of Malta. I am currently conducting bone cancer research which is funded by the Endeavour Scholarship. I believe if nature causes a disease, then there must be a cure and God will guide those people who work relentlessly to find it. Being researchers it is our prime goal to investigate, to ask questions and strive to find the cure.

New way to treat bone cancer

Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) affects young children and adolescents under the age of 20 years and rarely adults over 60 years of age. It is a very painful cancer and causes several morbidities. Currently, there are two main treatments available for bone cancer: Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy. Both therapies are extremely aggressive causing many serious side effects and risks, particularly in growing children.

We aim to develop a novel drug by testing Natural products (Ecdysteroids) found in plants. These natural products could help the cancer cells to get older and eventually die. This process is called differentiation. I have found interesting signs of bone cancer cells getting older. Thus these novel chemicals could be developed further as a potential treatment for bone cancer. This research and testing using these natural chemicals is being pioneered in Malta for the first time in the fight against bone cancer.

The Next step…

My future research will entail testing of these drugs on other bone cancer cells to ensure and eliminate the effect of chance. Further studies in pre-clinical models of bone cancer in fish or mice will define effectiveness of this treatment on bone cancer in living organisms and prove absence of harmful side effects.

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