Arab News – A Saudi student has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom for her research into chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Afaf Awad Al-Harthi, a scholarship student from the medical faculty at Taif University, was included by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission in London on its honor panel.
Al-Harthi said recently that her research was aimed at determining the MicroRNAs, or biomarkers, in the cancer cells of lymphatic tissue, to predict the growth and development of the disease, from which doctors could make a diagnosis and take appropriate action.
After conducting several experiments, Al-Harthi was able to determine the relationship between these indicators and disease progression in infected people.
Simon Wagner, a professor and Al-Harthi’s research supervisor, said that the lymphoid tissue environment encourages the growth and proliferation of cancer cells, and resistance to chemotherapy. This group of MicroRNAs would be useful clinically in terms of early diagnosis and treatment, he said.
Wagner said that Al-Harthi used many technologies, including a Nanosight technique to measure the number and size of the vesicles outside the cells in patients and healthy volunteers. She found a higher prevalence of these particles in patients.
She also developed a Polymerase Chain Reaction technique for specific types of MicroRNAs and tested it on a group of patients and healthy volunteers, said Wagner.

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