portrait of Dr HongISSF Springboard Fellowship

Investigating non-genetic adaptation to chemotherapy in oesophageal cancer at a single-cell level

Investigating how oesophageal cancer cells react to chemotherapy

Oesophageal cancer shows a poor clinical outcome and is the seventh most common cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Most of these patients present with advanced disease and are treated with chemotherapy. A recent genetic study failed to identify any major genetic driver of drug resistance, suggesting the selection of cancer cells harbouring drug-resistant genetic code is not the case in oesophageal cancer. It implies that cancer cells might adapt to chemotherapy and become resistance. This project was aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism of drug resistance in patients with oesophageal cancers. Cutting-edge technologies were applied to analyse the patients’ samples and explore how single cancer cells adapt to drug stress and become resistance. These data will enable to find out therapeutic targets to overcome the disease.


Sung Pil Hong is an ISSF Springboard fellow at the Department of Surgery and Cancer. His research focuses on how cancer cells adapt to drug stress and become drug-resistant phenotypes at a single-cell level using cutting edge technologies of single-cell RNA-seq, single-cell ATAC-seq, patient-derived organoid. He is particularly interested in understanding the clinical impact of intratumor heterogeneity and develop therapeutic targets to overcome drug resistance.