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Pump Priming Award

The British Nutrition Foundation Drummond Pump Priming Award is an annual scheme run by the British Nutrition Foundation awarding a grant of £5000 to help a university lecturer or research fellow in human nutrition to undertake the pilot work needed to generate data that can be used as the basis of a more substantial grant application.


The Award is made possible through the British Nutrition Foundation's management of the Drummond Memorial Fund, established in memory of the work and contribution of Sir Jack Drummond.

The 2023 Pump Priming Award: Dr Noshin Daud

The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen

Exploiting β-glucan derived from barley, oats and shiitake to potentially improve tumour and normal tissue responses to radiotherapy


Pelvic cancer is a major public health problem among older adults worldwide and conventional treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. However, these treatments are associated with serious adverse effects including toxicity to normal tissues, so there is a need to find radiosensitizing agents which pose minimal toxicity to normal tissues for such patients.


The potential for improving health by modulation of the human gut microbiota through dietary manipulation has gained a lot of public attention over the last 10–15 years and dietary fibre is a major energy source for the human gut microbiota. The utilisation of some types of dietary fibre by human gut microbiota results in the production of metabolites that are thought to be health promoting, including short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) which may reduce normal tissue toxicity following radiation treatment.


Dietary fibre and mixed link β-glucans found within oats and barley may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer. Previous studies have indicated potentially beneficial effects of β-glucan derived from maitake and shiitake mushrooms. In China and Japan, these mushrooms are clinically used as an adjuvant to cancer chemotherapy, but their availability is limited to certain areas of the world. In contrast, cereals are staple foods throughout the world, and some are a rich source of β-glucan, however, barley and oats β-glucans may have different biological effects, since their chemical composition is not the same. Dr Daud and colleagues therefore plan to test β-glucans derived from oats and barley to determine their cytotoxic and radiosensitizing effects in vitro.

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