Alex Von Kriegsheim Awarded SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant for €500K Bowel Cancer Project

Written by: William Fitzmaurice
Written on: Wednesday, 09 July, 2014

Research Fellow Dr Alex von Kriegsheim was yesterday awarded a Science Foundation Ireland Starting Investigator Research Grant as part of €23 million in new funding announced by Minister for Research and Innovation, Mr Seán Sherlock, T.D. to help support 40 of Ireland’s most promising young research talent to become fully independent researchers.

Commending the recipients of the awards, Minister Sherlock said: “The 40 research projects being awarded by SFI today demonstrate the enormous talent and potential that exists among Ireland’s young researchers.”

Alex’s research aims to develop new treatments to help prevent against bowel cancer in patients with colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both conditions lead to chronic inflammation of the gut, which can in turn increase the risk of bowel cancer. Alex hopes that his research can identify the ways in which this inflammation causes the growth of cancer cells and how the process can be halted through the release of important enzymes known as hydroxylases, which are blocked in chronically inflamed tissues.

Alex and his team will investigate if a novel strategy of treatment using modulators of hydroxylase activities is effective in preventing the progression from inflammation to cancer. It is hoped that improved understanding of these modulators will open new treatment strategies which will inhibit the malignant progression of the disease, with potentially significant economic and societal impacts through the reduction of healthcare cost, suffering and death.

Alex joined SBI as a postdoctoral researcher in 2009 from the Cancer Research UK Beatson Laboratories in Glasgow, where he worked under current SBI Director Walter Kolch. The molecular mechanisms which drive cancer initiation and progression are at the core of his research interests.