Professor Pamela Kearns MBChB, BSc (Hons), PhD, FRCPCH

Professor Pamela Kearns

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Director of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit
Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology/Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology

Contact details

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU),
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences,
University of Birmingham ,
B15 2TT

Pamela Kearns is Professor of Clinical Paediatric Oncology in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham and an Honorary Consultant at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital. She is Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit in the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences where she leads the research strategy for one of UK's largest cancer trials unit, delivering a wide-ranging programme of phase I-III clinical trials across all types of cancer in all age groups. She is responsible for an academic trials portfolio of > 120 multi-centre & international cancer trials for a wide-range of cancers, occurring in children, young people and adults across 347 centres in 21 countries across Europe and beyond. 

She is President of the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP-E) and is on the Executive Boards of the academic consortium 'Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer' (ITCC) and ACCELERATE; the international multi-stakeholder platform for the development of anticancer medicines for children and adolescent with cancer.

She is currently a Senior Clinical Advisor for Cancer Research UK.

Her research is focused on the development of new therapies for refractory childhood cancer, notably lymphomas, extending from pre-clinical laboratory based studies through to early phase clinical trials.


  •  Fellowship of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 2009
  •  Certificate of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Newcastle 2000
  •  PhD (LLR Clinical Training Fellowship), University of Newcastle 2000
  •  Membership of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health 1996
  •  Diploma in Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle
  •  Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (UK) Paediatrics 1993
  •  MBChB, Aberdeen University 1988
  •  BSc Honours. 2(1) Physiology, Aberdeen University 1982


Postgraduate supervision

Professor Kearns is interested in supervising doctoral research students in translational research developing new therapeutic approaches for childhood lymphomas.

Doctoral research

PhD title
The role of glutathione and glutathione S-transferases in childhood leukaemia

Other activities

National Committees

  • CR UK New Agents Committee (January 2013- to date)
  • National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Childhood Cancer and Leukaemia Clinical Study Group (April 2010 to date)
  • NCRI Childhood Cancer and Leukaemia New Agents Sub-Group (April 2010 to date)
  • Bone Cancer Research Trust BCRT Independent Scientific Advisory Panel (April 2013 to date. Chair from December 2016)

Previous Committees

  • CCLG Biological Studies Steering Group (Member 2003-2009 and Chair 2005-2009)
  • Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research Cell Bank Steering Committee (2005 - 2012)
  • Leukaemia Research Fund Clinical Trials Advisory Panel (2003 - 2009)
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) College Specialist Advisory Committee: academic representative (September 2009 to March 2015)
  • West Midlands Academic Health Sciences Network Clinical Trials Advisory Group (April 2014 to August 2016)

 International Committees

  • European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP-E) Executive Board Member (From January 2013, President –Elect from January 2017)
  • Innovative Therapeutics in Childhood Cancer (ITCC) Executive Board: elected Board member and Treasurer (July 2010 to date)
  • ITCC European Sponsors Consortium Committee; Chair November 2014 to date
  • International-BFM Study Group Early Clinical Trials Committee (Founder Member and Co-chair 2006 to date)
  • Data Safety Monitoring Committee for Nordic Society of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology (NOPHO) randomised controlled trial for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (2009 to 2016; trial completed)


Recent publications


Sullivan, M, Bouffet, E, Rodriguez-Galindo, C, Luna-Fineman, S, Saghir Khan, M, Kearns, P, Hawkins, DS, Challinor, J, Morrissey, L, Fuchs, J, Marcus, K, Balduzzi, A, Basset-Salom, L, Caniza, M, Baker, JN, Kebudi, R, Hessissen, L, Sullivan, R & Jones, K-P 2020, 'The COVID-19 pandemic: a rapid global response for children with cancer from SIOP, COG, SIOP-E, SIOP-PODC, IPSO, PROS, CCI and St Jude Global', Pediatric Blood & Cancer.

Hijiya, N, Zwaan, CM, Rizzari, C, Foa, R, Abbink, F, Lancaster, DL, Landman-Parker, J, Millot, F, Moppett, J, Nelken, B, Putti, MC, Tian, X, Sinclair, K, Santanastasio, H, Buchbinder, A & Kearns, P 2020, 'Pharmacokinetics of nilotinib in pediatric patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia or acute lymphoblastic leukemia', Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 812-820.

Syrimi, E, Lewison, G, Sullivan, R & Kearns, P 2020, 'Analysis of Global Pediatric Cancer Research and Publications', JCO Global Oncology, no. 6, pp. 9-18.

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) CID trials working group 2020, 'Effective delivery of Complex Innovative Design (CID) cancer trials—A consensus statement', British Journal of Cancer.

Jackson, RK, Liebich, M, Berry, P, Errington, J, Liu, J, Parker, C, Moppett, J, Samarasinghe, S, Hough, R, Rowntree, C, Goulden, NJ, Vora, A, Kearns, PR, Saha, V, Hempel, G, Irving, JAE & Veal, GJ 2019, 'Impact of dose and duration of therapy on dexamethasone pharmacokinetics in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia: a report from the UKALL 2011 trial', European Journal of Cancer, vol. 120, pp. 75-85.

Janssens, GO, Timmermann, B, Laprie, A, Mandeville, H, Padovani, L, Chargari, C, Journy, N, Kameric, L, Kienesberger, A, Brunhofer, M, Kozhaeva, O, Gasparotto, C, Kearns, P, Boterberg, T, Lievens, Y & Vassal, G 2019, 'Recommendations for the organisation of care in paediatric radiation oncology across Europe: a SIOPE-ESTRO-PROS-CCI-Europe collaborative project in the framework of the JARC', European Journal of Cancer, vol. 114, pp. 47-54.

Pais, H, Ruggero, K, Zhang, J, Al-Assar, O, Bery, N, Bhuller, R, Weston, V, Kearns, PR, Mecucci, C, Miller, A & Rabbitts, TH 2019, 'Surfaceome interrogation using an RNA-seq approach highlights leukemia initiating cell biomarkers in an LMO2 T cell transgenic model', Scientific Reports, vol. 9, no. 1, 5760.

Kearns, PR, European Neuroblastoma Study Group (ENSG) & Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) 2019, 'Long-term analysis of children with metastatic neuroblastoma treated in the ENSG5 randomised clinical trial', Pediatric Blood & Cancer, vol. 66, no. 4, e27565.

Ferrari, A, Brecht, IB, Gatta, G, Schneider, DT, Orbach, D, Cecchetto, G, Godzinski, J, Reguerre, Y, Bien, E, Stachowicz-Stencel, T, Ost, M, Magni, C, Kearns, P, Vassal, G, Massimino, M, Biondi, A, Bisogno, G & Trama, A 2019, 'Defining and listing very rare cancers of paediatric age: consensus of the Joint Action on Rare Cancers in cooperation with the European Cooperative Study Group for Pediatric Rare Tumors', European Journal of Cancer, vol. 110, pp. 120-126.

Mussai, F, Wheat, R, Sarrou, E, Booth, S, Stavrou, V, Fultang, L, Perry, T, Kearns, P, Cheng, P, Keehsan, K, Craddock, C & De Santo, C 2018, 'Targeting the arginine metabolic brake enhances immunotherapy for leukaemia', International Journal of Cancer.

Stevens, S, Main, C, Bailey, S, Pizer, B, English, M, Phillips, B, Peet, A, Avula, S, Wilne, S, Wheatley, K, Kearns, P & Wilson, J 2018, 'The utility of routine surveillance screening with magnetic resonance imaging to detect tumour recurrence/progression in children with high-grade central nervous system tumours', Pediatric Blood & Cancer.


Kearns, PR, Vassal, G, Ladenstein, R, Schrappe, M, Biondi, A, Blanc, P, Eggert, A, Kienesberger, A, Kozhaeva, O, Pieters, R & Schmiegelow, K 2019, 'A European paediatric cancer mission: aspiration or reality?', The Lancet Oncology, vol. 20, no. 9, pp. 1200-1202.


Kearns, P, Zwaan, CM, Reinhardt, D, Gibson, B, Moreno, L, Nysom, K, Nakahara, S, Huang, F, Zhou, W, Parasrampuria, DA & Nemat, S 2019, 'Phase 1-2 safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetic study of decitabine in sequential administration with cytarabine in children with relapsed or refractory acute myeloid leukaemia', British Journal of Haematology, vol. 186, no. 3, pp. e7-e11.

Review article

Gatz, S, Aladowicz, E, Casanova, M, Chisholm, JC, Kearns, P, Fulda, S, geoerger, B, Schafer, B & Shipley, J 2019, 'A perspective on polo-like kinase-1 inhibition for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma', Frontiers in Oncology, vol. 9, 1271.

Aldape, K, Brindle, KM, Chesler, L, Chopra, R, Gajjar, A, Gilbert, MR, Gottardo, N, Gutmann, DH, Hargrave, D, Holland, EC, Jones, DTW, Joyce, JA, Kearns, P, Kieran, MW, Mellinghoff, IK, Merchant, M, Pfister, SM, Pollard, SM, Ramaswamy, V, Rich, JN, Robinson, GW, Rowitch, DH, Sampson, JH, Taylor, MD, Workman, P & Gilbertson, RJ 2019, 'Challenges to curing primary brain tumours', Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, vol. 16, pp. 509-520.,

View all publications in research portal


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