About us

cancer cells

The Cancer Research UK Birmingham Centre establishes Birmingham as one of the UK’s premier sites for cancer research and is led by Professor Ben Willcox (Scientific Director) and Professor Gary Middleton (Clinical Director). Strategically linked with Birmingham’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) and the University’s Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU), the Centre forms part of a vibrant pathway for transformative bench-to-bedside cancer research and precision cancer medicine development.

The Centre also benefits from a single biomedical campus at Birmingham and a strong partnership between Cancer Research UK and the Birmingham Health Partners, a strategic alliance that brings together the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.

Through the University we also capitalise on membership of The Alan Turing Institute

Our vision

Our research has established the paramount need to move beyond simple genomic classifiers to approaches based on a more profound understanding of disease biology, and for more accurate preclinical models of disease and therapeutic intervention.

Our vision is to transform cancer treatment by rational development of novel targeted therapies, immunotherapies and stratification approaches based on a fundamental understanding of oncogenesis and tumour immunobiology. 

The Centre is uniquely positioned to capitalise on fundamental scientific strengths in cancer genomics, cancer immunology and the tumour microenvironment, coupled to CRCTU expertise in stratified medicine trials design, diagnostic/stratification tests, and in genetic testing, thereby building on Birmingham’s central role in Cancer Research UK’s Stratified Medicine Programme.

Cancer Research UK Centre funding allows us to invest in critical infrastructure to support this ambition. This includes a PhD Fellowship programme, a set of core infrastructure posts supporting key experimental approaches (including bioinformatics, biostatistics, next generation sequencing, immunomonitoring and digital pathology), and pump-priming funds to promote development of new prioritised research areas.

We are working closely with colleagues located across the Cancer Research UK network of Centres, as well as other UK and international collaborators, to achieve this vision. 

We understand the unique insights that patients and the public can bring to research and are committed to increasing the levels of meaningful involvement to enable collaborative development of research via our growing Involvement and Engagement in Cancer Research at Birmingham group. More information can be found on our 'Working with people affected by cancer' webpage