Bringing Birmingham to You: Breakthroughs in Cancer Research

Online via Zoom
Thursday 10 June 2021 (13:00-13:50)

From discovering six of the genes that predispose someone to bowel cancer, to pioneering the diagnosis and treatment of children’s cancers, Birmingham has a long history of making vital breakthroughs. It has always been a place that finds answers to make a real difference to people’s lives; and our researchers are close to further life changing solutions that could make a difference to patients in years, not decades.

Join Professors Andrew Beggs and Colin Watts, and Dr Frank Mussai for a discussion to learn more about their ground-breaking research, why Birmingham is at the forefront of discoveries, the impact of COVID-19 and other challenges on cancer research, and the effect of philanthropy on their work.

Professor Pam Kearns will chair the discussion and then welcome you to put your questions to the panel. Questions are also welcome in advance of the webinar and can be submitted via email.



About the panellists:

Pam Kearns is Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology at the University of Birmingham and an Honorary Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital. She is Director of the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU). As Director of CRCTU, she leads the research strategy for one of UK's largest cancer trials unit, delivering a trials portfolio of over 100 multi-centre and international cancer trials for a wide-range of cancers, occurring in all children, young people and adults, notably leading the National Children’s Cancer Trials Team responsible the vast majority of UK’s clinical trial portfolio for children and young people with cancer. Her research is focussed on research in childhood acute leukaemias and lymphomas and drug development and innovation in the design and delivery of clinical trials for childhood cancers.  

Andrew Beggs is a Professor of Cancer Genetics & Surgery in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham. He currently holds a Cancer Research UK & Royal College of Surgeons Advanced Clinician Scientist award. He is also an Consultant Colorectal & General  Surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham with a subspeciality interest in laparoscopic rectal cancer surgery and advanced endoscopy. Andrew is the clinical theme lead of Cancer Genomics research theme for the Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre. He is co-lead of the Molecular Oncology, Pathology and Genetics research theme within the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences. Andrew is also Research Director for cancer in the NHS South and Central Genomic Medicine Service Alliance.

Colin Watts is a Professor of Neurosurgery and a Honorary Consultant Neurosurgeon at University Hospitals Birmingham.  Colin leads the newly established Brain Cancer Program at the University of Birmingham. His research aims to improve the treatment and survival of patients with glioma by understanding the molecular genetic heterogeneity of individual tumours and using that data to develop novel molecular and functional stratification suitable for application in clinical trials. His clinical practice specializes in neurosurgical oncology with a particular interest in intrinsic gliomas and cerebral metastases.

Francis Mussai is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Oncology in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and an Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital.  His research is focused on understanding the interaction between paediatric and adult cancers and the immune system, in particular how cancers suppress the immune response to avoid destruction. Projects involving solid tumours and haematological malignancies are currently underway.  In addition Francis aims to develop novel therapies for cancers and rare diseases, from pre-clinical studies through to early phase clinical trials.

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