When Dr Darrell Green was in high school, his best friend Ben Morley developed knee pain. His parents and doctor thought he had been injured in a football match, but when the pain did not go away after a few weeks, he was taken back to hospital and further tests confirmed he had bone cancer. Although Ben was given chemotherapy, he had to have his leg amputated. He went on to develop a secondary tumour in his lungs and passed away in February 2002. He was just 13.
Now a lecturer in Medicine at the University of East Anglia, Dr Green is working to understand what causes and progresses the disease in the hope of finding a cure. Dr Green performs most of his work via molecular examination of tumours removed from patients after surgery, and via metastatic cells, cells that spread cancer within the body in the blood.
He hopes that by examining the tumours in a way that has not been performed before, he can discover a treatment that will prevent the spread and growth of secondary tumours, which are almost always the cause of death in cancer patients.