Professor Paul Moss leads the University's cancer research as head of the School of Cancer Sciences. His particular interest is in finding ways to engage the body's immune system in the treatment of these diseases.
Title: Professor Paul Moss – Birmingham Heroes
Duration: 2.33 mins
Speaker Names (if given): S1 Professor Paul Moss
S1 My laboratory is involved in the fight against cancer and particularly we focus on how the immune system can control cancer. It’s been known for about 100 years that our body’s immune defences can play a role in eradicating cancer and we’re working on the details of understanding that so that we can take it forward into the clinic.
We’re particularly interested in how patients who’ve had a bone marrow transplant can eradicate diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma because that's very powerful in some patients and not in others, and we want to work out how that's effective in patients who get a good response.
Cancer research at Birmingham has been strong for a few decades now and we’ve got quite a broad range of interests. We go through from very fundamental research looking at how the mutations in DNA can cause cancer, through to excellence in clinical trials. We’ve got one of the largest clinical trials units in Europe, looking at how new interventions and drugs can be properly brought into the clinical arena. So we’ve got a very broad area of expertise.
One thing we’re particularly strong on in Birmingham is the area known as ‘translational research’. That's where we take research right from the bench through to clinical trials and the patients – and being so close to the hospital here, that's a great asset for us. And it’s been particularly exciting for me to see some of our basic research ideas moving through into patient trials – and that's really the most rewarding aspect of our research.
We work very closely with families and supporters to share our efforts and communicate what we’re doing and there’s really nothing as rewarding as bringing people into the laboratory – relatives and patients and showing them what we’re doing and that really makes it all worthwhile – and that interaction is really excellent in the research programme.
It’s the most incredibly exciting time in cancer research and when I’m giving lectures to medical students I try and get this across to them that there has never been a time like this; it is the most remarkable time to be in research – and we really are the first generation that has it in their ability, their capacity, to control this disease; that's my optimistic belief.
I think we’re going to see a lot of change towards personalised medicine in the future. We won’t just be treating breast cancer or prostate cancer as a group; we’ll be looking at patients’ individual disease and treating it appropriately. So it really is going to be the most exciting few decades ahead.
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