Cancer research is a major area of excellence at Barts and The London, QMUL. We administer eight programmes from Cancer Research UK and multiple projects and fellowships, including our Barts Cancer Centre which received £10 million to renew its status as an official CRUK Centre. Almost a doubling of its previous investment, the funds support research facilities and training programmes, with the aim to of getting treatments and diagnostics to cancer patients sooner. Meanwhile, our Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre has been supported with an investment of £2.4m, to focus on the treatment of cancers with unmet need, including pancreatic, oesophageal and mesothelioma.
Our Centre for Cancer Prevention conducts research into the prevention of cancer with particular focus on preventive therapy and screening. Major successes include the impact of the IBIS-II trial, which studied almost 4,000 postmenopausal women at high risk of breast cancer, finding that those treated with anastrozole were 53% less likely to develop breast cancer, and that the drug was more effective than tamoxifen, with fewer side effects.
The evidence was used by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence to establish guidelines recommending the use of anastrozole, and rather than tamoxifen, in postmenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer.
Brain tumour research
We host the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence with £3 million of funding from the Brain Tumour Research charity, which aims to elucidate the epigenome of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and aggressive type of malignant brain tumour. Other recent achievement in this space derives from research identifying the gene responsible for a rare form of hereditary brain tumour (familial isolated pituitary adenoma), enabling screening assays to uncover significant disease leading to earlier intervention.
A New Treatment for Bladder Cancer
There had been few therapeutic advances in bladder cancer in the past 30 years until we tested a new antibody treatment for very advanced bladder cancer. Early results have been so promising that the treatment has been fast tracked for approval by the United States’ Food and Drug Administration.
We also hold world leadership in applied and translational research in skin cancer, through our Centre for Cell Biology and Cutaneous Research. A research focus is epithelial cancer including non-melanoma skin cancer, malignant melanoma, head and neck cancer.