THE battle against cancer may be boosted by the appointment of a new computer scientist at the University of York.

Dr Andrew Mason will take part in cutting-edge research as he seeks to help develop personalised cancer treatments.

His work will involve analysing ‘big data’ generated by sequencing the genetic material of many different cancers, and aiming to pinpoint mutations or patterns.

His lectureship in bioinformatics at the Jack Birch Unit is being funded by the charity York Against Cancer as part of events to mark its recent 30th anniversary.

Professor Steve Leveson, of York Against Cancer, said: “This is fantastic news for the charity.

“Being able to enter into cutting-edge research with the university and the JBU is a significant move forward for us.”

Professor Jenny Southgate, head of the JBU, said Dr Mason’s work could help refine the way cancer was treated in the future.

“Each of us as a human being is made with the same genes, but individually we are all so different, too,” she said.

“You have to look at many different individuals to see patterns in these differences.

“When you look at bladder cancer, you can examine it under the microscope to see if it has invaded the muscle, what’s known as muscle-invasive bladder cancer.

“But if you don’t know what differences there are at the gene level you will just lump them together and treat them all the same, and that is what has been done for the last 20 years.

“However, if you look at lots of muscle-invasive bladder cancers, using good statistics you can see that within it there are lots of different types of disease.”

Dr Mason, originally from Whitby, said: “I’m excited to be taking up this position. It is a fantastic opportunity that has come quite early in my career, and a great chance to start directing my own research.”