KIMBERLY FENECH | Targeting Small Cell Lung Cancer and its associated Organotropic Metastases


I am Kimberly, a PhD student studying lung cancer and have recently graduated in BSc. Medical Biochemistry (Hons.). Becoming a researcher has always been my greatest ambition as my career involves exploring new ideas and continuously learning new things. Along with science, I have many interests such as reading, gardening, cycling, running and cooking.

Targeting Small Cell Lung Cancer and its associated Organotropic Metastases

Lung cancer is the top cancer-killer both globally and locally and is most common among males. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is one type of lung cancer characterised by a very aggressive malignancy with a 5-year survival rate of just 6%. The reason behind such aggressiveness is that at the time of diagnosis most patients already have metastatic disease meaning that the

cancer has already spread from the lungs to other parts of the body.

Although, current therapies work initially, most patients relapse with resistant cancer signifying that second-line therapy is not able to cure the cancer. Therefore, new novel treatments are needed to offer hope for lung cancer patients. In my work, I am investigating a combinatorial therapeutic approach, that makes use of more than one drug with the aim of not only targeting the lung tumour but also the metastatic tumours. Hence, this therapy aims to improve the survival rate of lung cancer while also improving the patient quality of life; as less side-effects are expected from such a combinatorial approach as opposed to mono-therapy. This research has been made possible thanks to the financial aid given by the Tertiary Education Scholarship Scheme (TESS).

The Next step…

Currently, I am testing this combinatorial therapy on established cell lines and patient tumour samples obtained thanks to a collaboration with Mater Dei Hospital. However, in the future I hope to investigate this drug through the use of animal models and also in other solid tumours.

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