More than 1 in 3 people in the UK will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime. Although the UK’s overall cancer death rate is falling, cancer still causes 1 in 4 deaths and 300,000 patients are newly diagnosed every year. A better understanding of basic biology, genetics and drug response of cancer is essential to improving its treatment.

The Oncology Laboratories aim to provide an interface between the clinic and the laboratory, developing new strategies to improve cancer treatment. Many of the team leaders are clinicians active in trials of new drugs for cancer. Research focuses on the fundamental genetics and biology of cancer; cell signalling pathways in different cancers such as the role of insulin-like growth factor and HER2; tumour angiogenesis and hypoxia pathways as candidates for potential therapeutic targets; biomarkers for detecting the early stages of the disease and monitoring response; and a fundamental understanding of the action of anti-cancer agents on DNA, all as routes to novel therapies.

Clinical translational research is aimed at developing personalised therapies for common cancers such as breast, colorectal, prostate and renal, as well as rare, cancer predisposing genome-instability syndromes such as Fanconi anemia (FA). Ultimately, the investigation of the fundamental molecular basis of cancer will facilitate drug development and biomarkers for effective, personalised cancer therapies.