Globally, cancer is the second leading cause of death. Although treatments are improving, there’s still a long way to go. We’re using fundamental research, evaluations, and the power of genomics to push scientific knowledge.

Cancer develops following the transformation of normal cells into tumour cells in a multi-stage process that generally progresses from a pre-cancerous lesion to a malignant tumour. In the UK over 300,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year, and one in two people will get cancer in their lifetime. 

Researchers across the University of Birmingham are collectively driving innovative scientific discoveries to understand cancer and treat it, from establishing how genetic abnormalities within cancer cells lead to disease to leading clinical trials to further our knowledge of how the immune system can be harnessed to target tumours. 

We want to transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer worldwide, delivering meaningful research to shape the lives of people who are impacted by this disease.

With a robust research infrastructure and live funding of around £250 million, our researchers are working together to accelerate our understanding for the benefit of cancer patients and those at risk of developing cancer.

 Current research areas include: 

  • Translational biology and genetics – We are examining the mechanisms by which cancer mutations deregulate the normal processes of cellular function and growth. We are using genome-wide profiling to screen different classes of cancer, such as colorectal cancer, for potential mutations and biomarkers. We are also studying how cancer evolves, developing better molecular and cellular cancer models for designing and testing new therapies. 
  • Cancer immunology and immunotherapy – Our aim is to make significant contributions to understanding the fundamental processes that underlie the immune response to cancer and to translate this into therapeutic opportunities with our NHS partners.

  • Gene structure and function – We are investigating the fundamentals of the active information database that is our genome, in normal and disease states. We aim to use our understanding of these processes to improve human health and prevent and treat human disease.

"At the University of Birmingham, we are committed to translating outstanding fundamental science into improved patient outcomes.

"We have been at the forefront of complex innovative design trial and have made important breakthroughs that have contributed to our collective understanding of this disease."

Professor Pamela Kearns

Professor Pamela Kearns

Director of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences

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Our researchers

  • Key staff

    Our researchers who work collaboratively to further our understanding of cancer.

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