School of Medicine and Dentistry

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The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) placed Barts and The London School of Medicine in the top 5 medical and dental schools in England for quality of research.

Cancer research is a leading strength of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

World-class research into the disease at Barts and The London is being pursued in:

This concentration of expertise makes Barts and The London one of the most significant power-houses of cancer research in Europe, and many investigators hold programme awards from CRUK and other funders.

In Cancer, in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, we were ranked 3rd out of 14 submissions in terms of 3* and 4* outputs and joint 5th in the UK overall, ahead of Oxford, Imperial, Kings College London and University College London.

Barts Cancer Institute, led by Professor Nicholas Lemoine, has been the focus for substantial new investment in basic, translational and clinical cancer research over the past five years. The Institute represents one of the largest cancer research bodies in the UK with a total of 300 staff, raising some £45 million in grant income over the past five years, with £12.6 million spent in 2006/7 alone.

Research in Cancer at Barts and The London is built on an integrated molecular and cellular approach to the problem of cancer in individuals and in populations.

Research strengths represented include:

  • therapeutic and diagnostic target identification and validation in both haematological and solid malignancies
  • clinical trials exploring new therapies
  • the development of novel molecular approaches for diagnosis, classification and treatment of human cancers
  • investigations into the regulation of tumour spread and host anti-tumour responses.

Facilities and Clinical Environment

Barts Cancer Institute researchers are housed in an outstanding research environment on the Charterhouse Square campus, with significant investment from Queen Mary, the MRC and charities into new laboratories as well as new staff appointments.

An extensive Infrastructure programme has provided state-of-the-art laboratories and offices. This working environment is multidisciplinary and well-resourced, promoting academic exchange and translational research at all levels.

The Institute is also home to many of the laboratories of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre at Barts and The London. This was the first centre of its kind to be established and is one of the largest constellations of Cancer Research UK clinical and translational groups in the UK university sector.

Cancer research at Barts and The London takes place close to the clinical care facilities for oncology at Barts Hospital. Barts was the first Clinical Cancer Centre recognised by Cancer Research UK and has been supported since 2004 by over £1.2 million per year of infrastructure funding.

This was followed by the creation of the Centre for Experimental Cancer Medicine funded by a £2 million grant from the Department of Health and CR-UK, which provides infrastructure for translational research, from early to late phase clinical trials.

The configuration of the Barts Hospital site as a Comprehensive Cancer Centre, to be completed in 2011 as part of Barts and The London’s £1.3 billion hospital redevelopment, the largest in Europe, will provide outstanding facilities for clinical research.

Cancer research themes at Barts and The London

Molecular Oncology and Imaging is an internationally recognised centre of expertise in gene therapy for cancer, with an active programme of clinical trials, as well as programmes for the identification of molecular biomarkers of disease progression and treatment response. It houses the state-of-the-art molecular imaging facilities for both preclinical and clinical studies.

Cancer and Inflammation focuses on the link between cancer and inflammatory responses, in particular the role of immune cells and mediators found in experimental and human cancers.

Cell Signalling is a world-class centre of expertise in both basic and applied PI3K signalling research. The programme focuses on the way in which uncontrolled PI3K signalling is one of the most commonly deregulated pathways in cancer.

Experimental Cancer Medicine focuses on early phase trials of novel therapeutics developed in the Institute of Cancer, as well as recruitment into late clinical trials, including NCRN, pharma-sponsored and investigator-initiated clinical trials open at Barts and The London NHS Trust.

Medical Oncology has a long and distinguished history in haemato-oncology, urological and paediatric malignancies, having led several pivotal trials in the treatment of these cancers.

Tumour Biology is concerned primarily with understanding the role that cytoadhesion plays in modulating cancer spread and has focused particularly on the involvement of members of the integrin family of adhesion receptors.

Barts Cancer Institute has strong links with the Wolfson Institute for Preventive Medicine, in particular Professor Jack Cuzick’s randomised cancer prevention trials: the international IBIS-II breast cancer prevention trial (determining whether the aromatose inhibitor anastrozole has greater preventive effect than tamoxifen, with fewer adverse effects of treatment including thromboembolism); the CRISP-I trial of diindolymethane in women with mildly dyskaryotic smears in the prevention of cervical cancer; and the UK trial of chemo-prevention of endometrial cancer in genetically susceptible women (POET).

The Wolfson Institute is the leading UK centre in the HPV vaccine trials sponsored by Glaxo- Smith-Kline.

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