Precision Breast Cancer Institute

The PBCI is a research unit that undertakes clinical research aimed at treating breast cancer patients in a more precise and personalised way. The PBCI is part of the Cambridge University’s Department of Oncology and located adjacent to the Cambridge Breast Unit at CUH. The PBCI is led by Professor Jean Abraham, and run by team of translational clinical research and data researchspecialists.

On this page you will find information on:

Personalised Breast Cancer Program

The PBCI’s main clinical study is the Personalised Breast Cancer Program (PBCP).

PBCP uses WGS (whole genome sequencing) to assess the feasibility of using genomic information in the management of breast cancer care. Germline and somatic DNA is sequenced, and changes to a pre-set list of genes are discussed at an Oncogenetic Review Board (ORB). At the ORB, clinicians, geneticists and bioinformaticians come together to discuss how the results of the genomics may affect the patient’s present or future care.

The 1000th patient was recruited to PBCP in May 2022.

PBCP is now a multi-site clinical study and is open at Oxford, Ipswich and Colchester.

Watch Professor Jean Abraham talk about PBCP and Precision Breast Cancer Medicine. 

Listen to clinical fellows, Lynsey Drewett and Rebecca Lucey, talk about PBCP on the CRUK podcast. 

Find out what happens to blood and tissue samples collected as part of the study: 

Find out why we collect data on treatment side effects as part of PBCP and how this relates to WGS. 

PBCP Substudies

Many of the patients that  participate in PBCP also take part in optional substudies that allow us to collect additional samples and information for research. These include:

Study Logos
Co-consent to Clinical Trials

Our clinical research portfolio allows patients to co-consent to multiple clinical studies or trials. In addition to PBCP and its substudies, patients can participate in interventional clinical trials such as Partner, NeoRT, and Pioneer, treatment de-escalation trials, such as Primetime, and imaging studies, such as Mission. This facilitates collaboration across studies and has allowed collection of multiple data types for individual patients which is elemental to the Breast Cancer Integrated Cancer Medicine theme. Our Patient Advisory Group helped us to develop a staged plan for approaching patents to multiple studies. Teams work in a coordinated manner to minimise impact on patients,

The PBCI Team
The PBCI team focus on the delivery of translational clinical studies, the design and development of new clinical trials and studies, collaborative projects and our own artificial intelligence / machine learning based research developing clinically relevant tools and predictive algorithms. 

Patient facing team
Justine Kane, Senior Research Nurse
Deborah Whitehorn, Clinical Research Pracitioner.
Key responsibilities: 
  • Recruitment to studies in accordance to Good Clinical Practice
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Organising sample and data collection
Data Team
Jonny Lay, Senior Data manager
Bin Liu, Computer Associate
Fatima Begum-Miah - Data Manager
Ollie Kane, Senior Data Clerk
Zoe Matthews, Data Clerk
Leah Prowse, Data Clerk
Key responsibilities:
  • Managing clinical research and sample data in accordance to GDPR
  • Supporting data collection and input at external study sites
  • Developing study and data management tools
  • Curating high quality clinial research data 
Coordination Team
Meena Murthy, Senior Coordinator & Portflio Manager
Claudia Pallucca, PBCP Coordinator
Victoria Theobald, Study Coordinator
Key Responsibilities:
  • Study Development, supporting collaborations and projects
  • Managing study conduct in accordance to Good Clinical Practice, Health Research Authority guidance and the Human Tisusue Act.
  • Running the Omic review board
  • Supporting external study sites
Clinical Fellows Team
Alex Fulton, Clinical Research Fellow
Clare Hannon, Visiting Clinical Fellow
(currently vacant) Clinical Research Fellow

Key Responsibilities:

  • Development, delivery, and ongoing support for breast cancer clinical trials and translational research.
  • Clinical application and integration of breast cancer genomics, including chairing an oncogenomics review board.
  • Treatment, care and recruitment of patients to clinical trials in a weekly breast cancer clinic.

Biosample Team
Sam Casford, Biossample Manager

Key Responsibilitites:

  • Management and oversight of the Breast Cancer Biosample collection
  • Managing sample collection, storage and use in accordance to Good Clinical Practice and the Human Tisusue Act.
  • Maintainance of Sample storage facilities
Bioinformatics team 
Steven Bell, Senior Research Associate
Charlotte King, Research Associate
Katrina Xian, Bioinformatician 
Key responsibilities:
  • Perform bioinformatics research via processing, analysing and interpreting high volumes of multimodal data generated as part of the personalised breast cancer program, and other scientific studies
  • Developing systems for delivery of next-generation sequencing results to clinicians for use in an NHS setting.
  • Ensure current best bioinformatics practices are adopted and adhered to
Machine Learning Team
Nikola Simidjievski, Senior Research Associate
Aris Sionakidis, Research Associate
Mel Irfan, Research Associate
  • Perform machine learning research via processing, analysing and interpreting high volumes of multimodal data generated as part of the personalised breast cancer program, and other scientific studies
  • Developing systems for delivery predictive machine learning algorithms for use in an NHS setting.
  • Maintaining collaborative research and teaching links with the Department of Computer Sciences and Technology
Clinical PhD Students
Karen Pinilla - Final year of PhD in collaboration with the Carroll Lab.  Identifying  breast cancer genomic and transcriptomic features that predict chances of response to specific therapeutic strategies.
Rebecca Lucey - First year of PhD in Collaboration with the Brindle Lab. AKTivate clinical trial. Identifying target engagement and biomarkers of response to breast cancer treatment.
 If you have any questions about the PBCI or PBCP, please contact the team:

Programme Contacts

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Programme Lead
University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Programme Lead
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge, Other
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Department of Oncology
Breast Cancer Programme Manager