Professor Philip Johnson MD FRCP


Professor of Oncology & Translational Research, Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit

School of Cancer Sciences


Contact details

Telephone +44 (0)121 414 3801

Fax +44 (0)121 414 3700


School of Cancer Sciences
Robert Aitken Clinical Research Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Philip is Professor of Oncology & Translational Research at the School of Cancer Sciences in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences. He has published over 290 research papers in scientific journals as well as nearly 200 reviews and book chapters in the fields of hepatobiliary cancer, clinical trials and biomarkers.

He has led one of the largest cancer trials units in Europe since 2002 and receives major grants from Cancer Research UK and other charitable organisations. Philip works extensively with Cancer Research UK and is Associate Director of the National Cancer Research Network.

He lectures nationally and internationally to clinical and scientific audiences as well as interaction with the public and public bodies. He also represents Europe on the Hepatobiliary Task Force of the United States National Cancer Institute and advises several international pharmaceutical companies on clinical trial design and implementation.


  • 1991 Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians
  • 1991 MD (University of Manchester)
  • 1974 MRCP (UK)
  • 1972 MB ChB (University of Manchester


Philip qualified in medicine at the University of Manchester and subsequently held posts as Senior House Officer at four major London Postgraduate Centres, including Guy’s Hospital, the Royal Marsden Hospital, the London Chest Hospital and the National Hospital, Queen’s Square before moving to the Liver Unit at King's College Hospital, London having secured a scholarship from the Royal College of Physicians to undertake research for which he was ultimately awarded the degree of MD. At the Liver Unit, he gained initial training in hepatology and an introduction to clinical and laboratory research in the field of liver and pancreatic cancer.

After a two year appointment at Manchester Royal Infirmary as Senior Registrar in General Medicine and Gastroenterology he returned to the Liver Unit at King's College Hospital, London (now The Institute of Liver Studies), as Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director, in charge of the newly built extension to the Unit, the Sheikh Zaid Centre. Here he further developed his interests in hepatobiliary oncology and biomarkers..

In 1992 he moved from London to The Chinese University of Hong Kong where he was Professor of Clinical Oncology and Head of Department. He commissioned a new Cancer Centre (the Sir Y.K. Pao Centre for Cancer) involving over 300 researchers and built up the Comprehensive Clinical Trials Unit. In 1995 he spent a period as Visiting Professor at the Cancer Centre, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.

Professor Johnson returned to the UK in 2002 and holds the Chair of Oncology and Translational Research at the School of Cancer Sciences, University of Birmingham. He is also Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU). The CRCTU runs over 150 clinicla trials involves all stages from I to IV and all age groups including children.

More recently, he has taken on the role of Associate Director of the National Cancer Research Network with particular remit for clinical trials.

His main clinical interest is in hepatobiliary cancer, biomarker discovery in the setting of clinical trials and neuroendocrine tumours.


  • MBChB
  • Mini Medical School
  • MSc course in Clinical Oncology modules
  • Module leader for Translational Research
  • BMedSci


Treatment of hepatobiliary neoplasms and development of biomarkers for diagnosis and screening.

Other activities

National Cancer Research Network
Associate Director (2010- )
Member: Executive Management Team
Chair: NCRN Chemotherapy and Pharmacy Advisory Service
Member: NCRN UK Operational Steering Group
Member: Portfolio Balance & Delivery National group

Medical Research Council
Member Health Services and Public Health Research Panel (2004-2008)
MRC Network of Hubs for Trials Methodology Research – Scientific Committee for UK Trials Methodology (2010 - )

National Cancer Institute (U.S.A.)
Member, Hepatobiliary Cancer Task Force – (October 2010- )

American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASC0)
Member, Cancer Education Committee (2004-2007)
Editor, People Living with Cancer (2001- )

Member, Gastrointestinal Expert Panel for TNM Classification (2001-2011)

Cancer Research UK
Chairman, Clinical Fellowship Selection Panel (2011- )
Member Training and Career Development Board (2010- )
Member, New Agents Committee (2002-2005)
Member, Heads of Clinical Cancer Research Centres (2003 -2010)

National Cancer Research Institute
Member, Committee of Clinical Trials Unit Heads
Member, Upper G.I. Sub-Study Group
Member, Biomarkers & Imaging Clinical Studies Group
Member, Pancreas Sub-Study Group
Chair: Accredited Trials Units Head Committee
Clinical Studies Groups – Chair review committees, chair appointment panels for membership and chairmanship

Children’s Cancer & Leukaemia Group
Member: Executive Committee

UK Clinical Research Collaboration
UKCRC Registered Clinical Trials Units – Directors Committee

External adjudicator for the National University of Singapore from March 1999 for candidates for the appointment to Professorships.

Specialty Advisor for Liver Cancer for the American Society for Clinical Oncologist’s Patient Communication Subcommittee.

External Reviewer for the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council

External Reviewer for the University Research Grants Council for the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

External Reviewer for the Research & Development Office of the Northern Ireland & Social Services Central Services Agency

External Reviewer for the National Medical Research Council, Singapore

Expert Opinion for Scottish Medicines Consortium

Advisory Board to the Patent Committee of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2008- )

Clinical Science - 1982-87
Cancer Molecular Biology - February 1994
Hong Kong Medical Journal - June 1994-January 2001
Editor, Oncology Forum - From 1996 -2002
Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology – From August 2000
Cancer Reviews (Asia Pacific) 2001-2003
Journal of Hepatology From 2004

British Society of Gastroenterology; Secretary - Liver Section (1991-92).
American Association for the Study of Liver Disease.
American Association for Cancer Research
International Association for the Study of Liver Disease.
European Association for the Study of the Liver.
British Association for the Study of the Liver.
Medical Research Society.
Asian-Oceanic Clinical Oncology Association (Treasurer 1993-97)
American Society of Clinical Oncology
Hong Kong Head and Neck Society
Hong Kong Society of Palliative Medicine
The Hong Kong Association for the Study of Liver Disease
The Society for Promotion of Hospice Care: Member Executive Committee from 1996 Member of Educational & Scientific Sub-committees from 1995
Member Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group

REVIEWER for several journals including:
Cancer Research, Clinical Cancer Research, Blood, Liver, American Journal of Gastroenterology, American Journal of Pathology, Journal of Hepatology, Oncogene, British Journal of Cancer, European Journal of Cancer, Clinical Chemistry, Gastroenterology, Journal of Viral Hepatitis, Cancer Detection and Prevention, Gut, Hepatology, The Lancet Oncology, and others


Identification of macrophage migration inhibitory factor and human neutrophil peptides1-3 as potential biomarkers for gastric cancer. Mohri Y, Mohri T, Wei W, Qi Y-J, Martin A, Miki C, Kusunoki M, Ward DG, Johnson PJ. British Journal of Cancer 2009; 101: 295-302. 

Gemcitabine alone or in combination with cisplatin in patients with advanced or metastatic cholangiocarcinomas or other biliary tract tumours: a multicentre randomised phase II study – The UK ABC-01 Study. Valle JW, Wasan H, Johnson P, Jones E, Dixon L, Swindell R, Baka S, Maraveyas A, Corrie P, Falk S, GoLlins S, Lofts F, Evans L, Meyer T, Anthoney A, Iveso T, Highley M, Osborne R, Bridgewater J, British Journal of Cancer: 2009; 101 (4): 621-7. 

Fast targeted multidimensional NMR metabolomics of colorectal cancer. Ludwig C, Ward, DG, Martin A, Viant MR, Ismail T, Johnson PJ, Wakelam MJ, Gunther UL. Magnetic Resonance Chemistry 2009; 47: S68-73. 

Detection of pancreatic adenocarcinoma using circulating fragments of fibrinogen. Ward DG, Wei W, Buckels J, Taha AMI, Hegab B, ?Tariciotti L, Salih R, Qi Y-J, Martin A, Johnson PJ. European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2010; ;22(11):1358-63. 

Confounding effects of benign lung diseases on non small cell lung cancer serum biomarker discovery. Rathinam S, Alzetani A, Starczynski J, Rajesh PB, Nyangoma S, Wakelam MJO, James ND, Wei W, Billingham L, Billingham J, Johnson PJ. Martin A, Ward D. Clinical Proteomics; 2009: 5: 148-155. 

Phase II randomized double-blind study of doxorubicin plus sorafenib versus doxorubicin plus placebo in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Abou-Alfa GK, Johnson P, Knox J, Capanu M, Davidenko I, Lacava J, Leung T, Gansukh B, Saltz LB. JAMA 2010; 304 (19): 2154-2160. 

Assessment of novel combinations of biomarkers for the detection of colorectal cancer. Shimwell NJ, Wei W, Wilson S, Wakelam MJO, Ismail T, Iqbal T, Johnson PJ, Martin A, Ward DG. Cancer Biomarkers 2010; 7: 1-10. 

Prospective validation of the Chinese University Prognostic Index and comparison with other staging systems for hepatocellular carcinoma in an Asian population. Chan SL, Mo FK, Johnson PJ, Liem GS, Chan TC, Poon MC, Ma BB, Leung TW, Lai PB, Chan AT, Mok TS, Yeo W. Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2011 26(2): 340-347.


Liver cancer; cancer biomarkers; clinical trials; proteomics

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