About the Institute

The Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences integrates the major academic strengths of fundamental cancer research and clinical trials of new cancer therapies. 

Piles of petri dishes in a lab

Our cancer research programme is providing a better understanding of the genetic abnormalities that underlie the development of cancer. By using high throughput methods to study the whole genome we are discovering how complex regulatory networks become the targets of cancer genes. Parallel studies of basic molecular mechanisms that control normal cells help us to define the specific pathways that become deregulated in cancer. 

Our research programmes in the discovery science arena are wide-ranging and cover cancer cell and stem cell biology, viral oncology (EBV and HPV) and genome biology. These combined approaches allow us to determine how genetic abnormalities lead to cancer and help us to identify molecular pathways that can be used as new targets for novel therapies. To support our research, we are developing new strengths in genomics and bioinformatics through our strong academic link with the Centre for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.

We are in an internationally unique position within this area of medical science as we bring together a range of world-class basic and clinical scientists who investigate the genetic bases of cancer and combine this with clinical trials of new therapies. The combination of sustained funding, from government and charities, patient involvement and technological advances has given us the opportunity to investigate the consequences of genomic changes in cancer. This is providing a wealth of information that can be used to design the next generation of cancer treatments. 

Our cancer clinical trials are driven through the CR-UK Clinical Trials Unit, which provides a translational pipeline for the development and assessment of new cancer therapies. The Trials Unit includes the National Children’s Cancer Trials Team. A key driver for our future development will be the West Midlands Genomic Medicine Centre, the largest in the UK and linking all 18 regional NHS Trusts, with academic leadership based within this Institute. This centre will contribute to an initiative to collect and decode 100,000 human genomes from cancer patients.