Centre for Molecular Oncology
The Centre for Molecular Oncology, led by Professor Sir Nicholas Wright, is the largest centre in the Institute, with nearly 70 staff and over a dozen group leaders. Our research uses novel molecular techniques to improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, focusing predominantly on pancreatic, genitourinary and gynaecological cancers, and is also involved in the development of novel cutting edge tumour imaging techniques. It is a world-leader in the field of cancer gene therapy and has close links to the departments of Solid Tumour Oncology, Gynaecological Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.
Research is carried out in three major areas:
- Molecular pathology: identifying novel biomarkers to improve the diagnosis of pancreatic, prostate and lung cancers and to allow better prediction of both progression and prognosis.
- Gene therapy: developing new mutant viruses that selectively replicate in and kill cancer cells.
- Molecular imaging: developing novel radionuclides to improve both imaging and treatment of cancer.
Please click here for profiles of staff in the Centre for Molecular Oncology
Follow the links below to get a sense of what life is like for researchers in our centre:
- IVIS bioluminescence and fluorescence imager
- Small animal SPECT-CT
- Small animal PET-CT
- Fully equipped molecular pathology laboratory working to GCP with laser capture microdissection capability and a fully automated Ventana IHC system.
Molecular pathology of pancreatic, prostate and lung cancers
- First genome-wide DNA copy number analysis in pancreatic cancer [Link]
- First description of the role of S100 proteins in pancreatic cancer aetiology and progression [Link]
- Description of loss of ASS expression in mesothelioma as a biomarker for sensitivity to arginine deprivation [Link]– this led to the opening of the phase I/II ADAM trial (ADI-PEG in Pleural Mesothelioma) in 2011.
- First description of DNA polymerases as potential targets for tumours lacking mismatch repair genes MSH2 and MLH1 via synthetic lethality screening [Link]
- First description of ability of androgens to induce prostate cancer TMPRSS2:ERG fusions in non-malignant prostate cells [Link]
- First comparative analysis of genetic alterations in Chinese and Western prostate cancers [Link]
- Contribution to international consortium to identify seven new prostate cancer susceptibility loci using GWAS [Link]
- First description of the importance of E3 region in activity of oncolytic adenoviruses in immunocompetent cancer models [Link]
- Identification of role of CEACAM6 in modifying adenovirus transport [Link]
- Description of the importance of host cell DNA damage responses in adenovirus activity [Link]
- Opening of Cancer Research UK phase I trial of [F-18] Demobesin-4 PET imaging in prostate cancer (2010)
- Description of the value of [F-18] FDG-PET in monitoring response to treatment in locally advanced breast cancer [Link]
- First publication on how to conjugate chelating agents to peptides for radiolabelling and imaging [Link]