Our research

leukemia cells


This new and expanding field of cancer care is a key theme for our ECMC.


Theme lead
Professor Andrew Beggs

Professor in Surgery & Cancer Genetics

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We lead the LORIS trial which is comparing surgery with monitoring for low risk cases of the pre breast cancer condition Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS). We are active in MGUS research, seeking to validate biomarkers predicting its development into myeloma, and to design an experimental trial of repurposed agents, to prevent this progression. We are also investigating biomarker stratification for the treatment of patients with Barretts Oesophagus, and have recently published our finding in Annals of Surgery.

Early cancer

This theme is led by Dr Paul Nankivell, a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Head and Neck Studies (INHANSE) and a consultant ENT/Head and Neck Surgeon.

Dr Paul Nankivell

Theme lead
Dr Paul Nankivell

Senior Clinical Lecturer

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A key focus is early bladder cancer research, led by Dr Richard Bryan. His current research is evaluating potential tumour stratifying biomarkers in urine samples, with a view to developing a noninvasive test, and seeking to validate an early bladder cancer treatment stratifier. In colorectal cancer we are investigating predictive biomarkers for early rectal cancer and radiotherapy response.

In soft tissue sarcoma Professor Andrew Beggs is a key partner in a £2.5m Cancer Research UK Accelerator Award, with partners at the Royal Marsden and Glasgow ECMCs, and collaborators in Spain and Italy. Entitled Improving neoadjuvant therapy in high risk sarcoma, the team aim to improve cure rates by targeting micrometastases and reducing the risk of relapse, developing a consensus on the use of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in soft tissue sarcoma patient management. We are looking to develop a strategy for introducing immunotherapy into head and neck cancer, identifying a predictive classifier to be utilised within a clinical trial setting.

Advanced cancer

We are expanding our portfolio of academic-led early-phase trials, using diverse scientific design methodologies to rapidly and efficiently evaluate novel therapies in advanced cancer.

The Birmingham-led National Lung Matrix Trial is the largest precision medicine trial in non-small cell lung cancer globally, testing a wide range of therapies tailored specifically to target key genetic changes in cancer cells. The trial is open at 24 sites across the UK, including all 18 adult ECMCs, and will be publishing its initial findings in 2020.

We continue to work in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), stem cell transplantation and viral cancers and have grown a new translational research team in head and neck cancer. We are building on trials in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) to invest in a new broader hepatobiliary cancer portfolio, including the development of a new phase I CAR-T advanced therapy trial. We are also working to establish a translational pathway for sample collection and immunophenotyping in pancreatic cancer, via a CRUK Programme Award.

We have recently added brain cancer to our portfolio, following the establishment of the Birmingham Brain Cancer Programme by eminent neurosurgeon Professor Colin Watts. Professor Watts is leading the development of the innovative platform The Tessa Jowell Brain Matrix, which will drive forward the development of brain cancer clinical trials.