Aerodigestive Cancers

Cambridge is uniquely placed to bring together research and clinical expertise to develop a strategic approach to the prevention, early intervention in high risk individuals and early detection of lung and colorectal cancer. Leading research skills include cell and developmental biology, imaging, epidemiology and public health, chemistry and nanotechnology.

Creating a centre of excellence in aerodigestive cancer

Programme Contacts

University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute

Selected publications

Combining research and clinical expertise in lung cancer

Addenbrooke's Hospital has a substantial patient base with over 500 new referrals annually, research bronchoscopy clinics, and a highly performing clinical trials team including early phase clinical trials expertise. Papworth Hospital will soon relocate to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus to form the largest cardio-thoracic centre in Europe.

Cellular and molecular biology of the respiratory epithelium

Researchers in Cambridge are working towards building a detailed understanding of the complex biology of early lung cancer development. They are analysing the inter-relationships between carcinogen exposure, mutation accumulation, clonal expansion, stem cell behaviour and the evolution of pre-malignant lesions in the pulmonary epithelium.

Modelling tumour development and therapy

Researchers at the MRC Cancer Unit are studying the molecular mechanisms responsible for tumour development with the goal of improving the diagnosis and treatment of lung cancer. They develop genetically modified tumour models to investigate the genetic and epigenetic alterations that drive lung cancer evolution using state-of-the-art genomics, microscopy and in vivo imaging.

Minimally invasive strategies for identification of high-risk patients

Addenbrooke's Hospital carries out over 150 research bronchoscopies every year and is the second highest recruiter to LungSearch (a trial testing ways of detecting lung cancer at an early stage in people whose lungs are not working normally). Research is focused on developing minimally invasive strategies for identifying high-risk patients, including sampling upper airway mucosa, genomics of plasma and/or sputum DNA, novel imaging techniques, bronchoscopic studies, and detailed clinical and epidemiological surveys.

Genetic profiling for colorectal cancer

The genetic profile of colorectal tumours, both at constitutional and somatic mutation levels, have the potential to determine the best treatment for individual patients and their relatives. Genetic screening is being refined with the aim of developing a personalised medicine programme in colorectal cancer. Tumour profiling using immunohistochemistry (mlh1, msh2, msh6, pms2) is currently performed within the NHS on affected individuals from high-risk families to determine if constitutional mutation analysis should be performed. We aim to further refine this analysis to identify those with microsatellite instability testing (MSI). This will define which group of patients have the greatest risk of colorectal cancer and reduce the need for colonoscopy monitoring in families who are MSI-negative. Once indentified, the high-risk MSI-positive group can be considered for novel therapeutic strategies.

Intestinal Stem Cells

The Winton group focuses on intestinal stem cell biology, and has a particular interest in exploring the cellular biology of colorectal cancer. One priority is the functional testing of candidate gene mutations as drivers of colorectal cancer. Another is to establish the role of quiescent cells that are uniquely adapted to evade cancer therapies and determine if their occurrence is related to poor clinical outcome.

Signaling molecules driving colorectal cancer

The Bienz group studies the molecular mechanisms of Wn/beta-catenin signalling and how the aberrant activation of this important cancer pathway drives colorectal cancer. They focus on the functions and molecular interactions of newly-discovered components of this pathway, aiming to understand how these control the transcriptional activity of beta-catenin and to develop their potential as cancer drug targets.

Personalised medicine for colorectal cancer

McDermott conducts high-throughput genomic screening of organoid cell lines derived from patient biopsies for sensitivity to anticancer drugs, aiming to take this forward to develop a personalised medicine programme in colorectal cancer. He also collaborates with the colorectal clinical team, to examine gene rearrangements in colorectal cancer and to assess whether these can be used as markers of relapse or to guide therapy.

Principal investigators and consultants

  • All members
  • Group leaders
  • Clinical consultants
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
PI:
N
CC:
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Mouse Genomes Project
David performs forward genetic screens to uncover cancer genes and pathways and leads a programme to decode the genomes of several mouse...
PI:
Y
CC:
N
University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
Strangeways Research Laboratory
Increased understanding of the genetic basis for the wide variation between patients in the severity of late radiotherapy toxicity.
PI:
N
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I work on a novel organotypic in vitro model for squamous cell lung cancer. It models common early genetic lesions in an inducible system...
PI:
N
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N
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry
Hyperactivation of the Wnt pathway has been linked to a wide range of cancers. Notably, the majority of colorectal cancers are due to...
PI:
Y
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Pathology
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PI:
N
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Y
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Cancer Genome Project
My research focuses on the optimisation of forward genetic screens to model acquired drug resistance to targeted therapeutics and the...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Despite significant advances over the last decade in the adjuvant and neo-adjuvant treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC) disease relapse is...
PI:
Y
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Y
My primary interest is working towards the better understanding of the biology of paediatric wild type GISTs. We have established a...
PI:
N
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Medicine
Cambridge University Hospitals
I am interested in several aspects of GI cancer including aetiology, identification of high-risk individuals and techniques for earlier...
PI:
N
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Medicine
My group is interested in the intracellular mechanisms regulating NADPH oxidase function in neutrophils and the control of neutrophil and...
PI:
Y
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Y
University of Cambridge
Department of Physics
We are interested in understanding soft materials and open questions in cellular biology. There is a strong synergy between these two...
PI:
Y
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N
Babraham Institute
Signalling Laboratory
In terms of basic science we are interested in how protein kinase and lipid signalling pathways control cell fate decisions such as...
PI:
Y
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N
Clinical research in thoracic cancer with emphasis on surgery. Local PI for PULMICC study- a RCT of metastectomy v best other care for...
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N
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge Colorectal Unit
Justin Davies Clinical Director of Digestive Diseases and Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital, and an Associate...
PI:
N
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Surgery
2009 Successful grant £20 000 from Addenbrookes Charitable Trust for research proposal: Anal cytology, anoscopy and human papillomavirus...
PI:
Y
CC:
Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
My research is based on improving outcomes of chemotherapy in oesophageal and gastric cancer. I am chief investigator of a national phase 3...
PI:
Y
CC:
Y
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Currently investigating the utility of 3D cancer organoid models for genomic analyses and drug screens to identify novel cancer therapies...
PI:
N
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N
AstraZeneca
Oncology iMED
Investigation of the therapeutic index of combining inhibitors of the DNA damage response with radiation in lung cancer.
PI:
N
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
David Gilligan is a Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Addenbrooke's and Papworth Hospitals in Cambridge. He is the Clinical Lead for Acute...
PI:
N
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Surgery
Colorectal Unit
Nigel Hall is a Colorectal and General Surgeon at Addenbrooke's Hospital.  He is lead of the Colorectal Multidisciplinary Team and Deputy...
PI:
Y
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Dr Susan Harden is the Oncology Lead Clinician for Lung Cancer at Addenbrooke's hospital. She qualified in medicine from Oxford University...
PI:
Y
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) Unit
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PI:
Y
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Y
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Assessing the role of oxidative stress-induced senescence in lung cancer. Identifying SNPs associated with lung cancer risk in smoking...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
Department of Medicine
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Cambridge Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Cellular senescence and oncogene induced senescence in particular is a potent tumour suppressor mechanism. Hepatocytes from subjects with...
PI:
N
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Colorectal Unit
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PI:
N
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Y
Project leader with extensive experience in Oncology drug discovery and development, leading teams to translate pre-clinical candidate...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
Department of Gynaecological Oncology
Homeostatic turnover in adult tissues is governed by the interplay of a multitude of signalling pathways that are often triggered by niche...
PI:
Y
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N
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
My research is broadly in statistical questions arising from molecular biology, cancer genetics or cancer treatment. The four themes of my...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Medicine
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Professor of Respiratory Science, Honorary Consultant Respiratory Physician
Proteins destined for secretion or for insertion into the cell membrane are first folded within the endoplasmic reticulum. The process of...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Modelling tumour development and therapy The main aim of our programme is to define the molecular and functional alterations that enable...
PI:
Y
CC:
University of Cambridge
Department of Biochemistry
My research is focused on understanding the early driver events that are critical to the development of squamous lung cancer (SQC) and...
PI:
Y
CC:
Y
Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Cancer Genome Project
Advances in genome sequencing technologies are enabling researchers to make rapid progress in defining the entire repertoire of causal...
PI:
Y
CC:
Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Surgery
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PI:
N
CC:
Y
University of Cambridge
Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Institute of Public Health
Katie?s research interests focus on symptom appraisal, self-management and help-seeking behaviours to primary care, in the promotion of...
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Histopathology Department, CUH
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PI:
N
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Y
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
I am interested in the use of mathematical and computational approaches to understand the functioning of healthy adult stem cells and the...
PI:
N
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N
Department of Oncology
CRUK Cambridge Institute
PI:
Y
CC:
N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Histopathology
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PI:
N
CC:
Y
University of Cambridge
Department of Genetics
Wellcome Trust MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute
My interest is in the characterisation of the biology of stem cells in normal lung and lung cancer, which should subsequently lead to an...
PI:
N
CC:
N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute
Department of Oncology
We use DNA sequencing of patients and their tumours to study genomic evolution in melanoma.
PI:
N
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N
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Pathology
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PI:
N
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Y
Department of Pathology
Wellcome Trust CRUK Gurdon Institute
The Rawlins lab works on the roles of stem cells in lung development and homeostasis with the dual aims of understanding how the normal...
PI:
N
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Dr Rintoul's research is based around clinical trials and translational research in thoracic oncology. Currently he is the Chief...
PI:
Y
CC:
Y
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
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PI:
N
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Y
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Radiology
Dr Screaton was appointed Consultant Radiologist in Papworth and Addenbrooke's Hospitals, Cambridge in 2000. He specialises in...
PI:
N
CC:
Y
AstraZeneca, University of Cambridge
My research focuses on early discovery projects in the immuno-oncology area.
PI:
N
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N
GlaxoSmithKline
Biopharm Innovation
PK, PD, systems biology
PI:
Y
CC:
N
(tbc)
PI:
N
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N
University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
.
PI:
Y
CC:
University of Cambridge
Department of Public Health and Primary Care
PI:
N
CC:
AstraZeneca
Science lead on Selumetinib (MEK inhibitor) and AZD4547 (FGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor) • Bioscience representative on the licensing...
PI:
N
CC:
N
University of Cambridge
Department of Biochemistry
The role of Myc in pancreatic cancer and the tumor microenvironment
PI:
N
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N
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Surgery
Received a MD in surgical oncology. Worked under the supervision of Professor Mark Middleton and Len Seymour in Oxford looking into...
PI:
N
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Y
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Colorectal Unit
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PI:
N
CC:
Y