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We recently discovered that some drugs used to treat cancer can ‘trick’ the patient’s immune system into responding as though the cancer cells are infected by a virus. This helps the body to fight against the cancer cells and can slow down cancer growth. The trick is caused by the drugs switching on some parts of human DNA that have the same DNA code repeated many times in a row; these ‘repeat sequences' are copied to make strands of RNA that look similar to virus RNA.

We are trying to find out if the RNA from repeat sequences in cancer cells might give useful information about how well cancer treatment is working.  

In our research we are looking particularly at colorectal cancer, which is the third most common type of cancer worldwide, and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a cancer affecting blood and bone marrow.