Marilynne Fuller

Continued support for Cancer research at Robarts Marilynne Fuller (above left) has made a gift of approximately $50,000 to support the cancer research of Robarts scientist Caroline Schild-Poulter, PhD (above right).Fuller’s husband, Robert W. Fuller, died from cancer in 2002, and her gift is a reflection of her commitment to advance cancer research. Schild-Poulter holds the position of Fuller Scientist, which is funded by a previous donation from Marilynne Fuller.Schild-Poulter is investigating ways in which cells respond to DNA damage, providing hope for the development of targeted cancer drugs or anti-cancer combination therapies.Recently, her lab identified a protein that appears to regulate programmed cell death – otherwise known as ‘apoptosis’ – in the event of irreparable DNA damage. DNA is damaged regularly by cellular processes and, typically, cells work to repair that damage. This is normally a good thing; however, when damaged DNA is not repaired and the damaged cells continue to proliferate, cancer manifests itself.“A hallmark of cancer is the body’s inability to activate apoptosis of diseased cells; in fact, the ability of cancerous cells to evade cell death represents the major obstacle for most cancer treatments,” said Schild-Poulter. “If we knew how these proteins told damaged cells to stop replicating and encouraged salvageable cells to repair themselves, we might be able to develop preventive therapies and targeted anti-cancer drugs.”Schild-Poulter was recently published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research and credits Marilynne Fuller’s generosity as one of the main reasons for her success in finding ways to better understand and one day stop cancer.