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Cancer cells grown in 3D can sometimes still form highly organised structures. The central yellow ring of staining identifies the inner luminal surface of this polarised colony of colorectal cancer cells.

Our major interests are in the fundamental genetics and biology of colorectal cancer and their potential applications.

We use a panel of over 100 colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines to study the basic biology of colorectal cancer as well as the effects that new treatments have on the cancer cells. The cell lines have been extensively characterised for genetic mutations, expression profiles and growth characteristics.  The use of this number of cell lines allows the identification of subsets of cancers that behave similarly with respect to their biology, drug responses and growth characteristics.  This, in turn, allows us to identify the molecularly defined profiles that correlate with, and can ultimately be used to predict for, those responses. Cancer stem cells can be isolated from within individual cell lines and we are also trying to identify the genes that control stemness and cellular differentiation in CRCs.

Recently, we have developed a protocol that allows efficient establishment of medium to long-term primary cultures from fresh CRC tumour material. These are now being compared with the cell lines, both with respect to their biological properties and their drug responses.

Our team

Selected publications