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

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.   

She was elected President of the European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP Europe) in 2019, having been a Board member since 2013. She has several European roles including Executive Board Member of the academic consortium ‘Innovative Therapeutics in Childhood Cancer’ (ITCC), Chair of ITCC’s European Sponsor Institutions Committee and Steering Committee member of the International multi-stakeholder platform ‘ACCELERATE’. Her research interests are focussed of drug development and innovation of design and delivery of clinical trials for childhood cancers. She was also a Senior Clinical Advisor to Cancer Research UK from 2015 to 2020 and is now a Trustee for Cancer Research UK as well as continuing to be a Trustee of A Child of Mine, a charity dedicated to supporting bereaved parents. She is also Chair of the Research Assessment Panel for GOSH Charity, and Chair of The Independent Scientific Advisory Panel for Bone Cancer Research Trust.


  •  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

Current Positions

  • Director of the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, School of Medical and Dental Sciences,  University of Birmingham (October 2019 – to date)
  • Professor in Clinical Paediatric Oncology, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham (March 2014 – to date)  
  • Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, University of Birmingham (July 2012 – to date)
  • Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Oncology, Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust (February 2007 – to date)


Current University of Birmingham (UoB) / Birmingham Health Partners (BHP) Committees:

  • UoB Senate Elected member, (Nov 2016 to date)
  • International Clinical Trials Sub-Committee of UoB STEM Ethical Review Committee (June 2018- to date)
  • UoB Clinical Trials Oversight Committee (CTOC) (Chair 2012- 2014, Vice Chair 2015-to date)
  • College of Medical and Dental Sciences Cancer Strategy Board (October 2017 to date)
  • BHP Clinical Trials Grant Development & Set-up Group (Chair August 2018 to date)
  • Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences REF Reading Group (November 2015 to date)
  • Birmingham ECMC Steering Committee (November 2016 to date)
  • CRUK Birmingham Centre Management Group  (October 2017 to date)
  • University Hospitals Birmingham Cancer Research Steering Group (October 2013 to date)
  • Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital Sponsorship Oversight Group (April 2018 to date)
  • Midland & Wales Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC) Consortium Executive (April 2018 to date)

External Committees

Current National Committees:

  • ECMC Paediatric Strategy Committee (February 2018-to date)
  • CRUK 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)
  • UKCRC Board (on behalf of CRUK, January 2016 to date)

Previous National Committees:

  • Senior Clinical Advisor to Cancer Research UK (P/T September 2015 - 2020)
  • 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)

Current International Committees:

  • European Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP-E) Executive Board Member (January 2013-to date, President –from January 2019)
  • Innovative Therapeutics in Childhood Cancer (ITCC) Executive Board and Treasurer (July 2010 to date) and ITCC European Sponsor Institutions Committee; (Chair: November 2014 to date)
  • ACCELERATE Steering Committee (June 2018 to date, Chair of ‘Fit for Filing’ Working Group April 20019) (an International multi-stakeholder platform to accelerate innovation for children and adolescents with cancer)
  • International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Board Member (January 2019- to date)
  • European Cancer Confederation (ECCO) Board Member (January 2019- to date)

Previous International Committees:

  • SIOP-E European Clinical Research Council, Vice-Chair (December 2012 to 2015)
  • ITCC Clinical Trial Committee (July 2010 to November 2014)
  • International-BFM Study Group Early Clinical Trials Committee (Founder Member and Co-chair 2006 to 2016)
  • 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


Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) CID trials working group, Blagden, SP, Yu, L-M, Ellis, S, Hughes, H, Shaaban, A, Fennelly-Barnwell, J, Lythgoe, MP, Cooper, AM, Maignen, FM, Buckland, SW, Kearns, PR & Brown, LC 2023, 'Additional consensus recommendations for conducting complex innovative trials of oncology agents: a post-pandemic perspective', British Journal of Cancer, vol. 128, no. 3, pp. 474-477.

de Rojas, T, Kearns, P, Blanc, P, Skolnik, J, Fox, E, Knox, L, Rousseau, R, Doz, F, Bird, N, Pearson, AJ & Vassal, G 2023, 'Changing incentives to ACCELERATE drug development for paediatric cancer', Cancer Medicine, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 8825-8837.

Moreno, L, DuBois, SG, Glade Bender, J, Mauguen, A, Bird, N, Buenger, V, Casanova, M, Doz, F, Fox, E, Gore, L, Hawkins, DS, Izraeli, S, Jones, DTW, Kearns, PR, Molenaar, JJ, Nysom, K, Pfister, S, Reaman, G, Smith, M, Weigel, B, Vassal, G, Zwaan, CM, Paoletti, X, Iasonos, A & Pearson, ADJ 2023, 'Combination Early-Phase Trials of Anticancer Agents in Children and Adolescents', Journal of Clinical Oncology .

Retzer, A, Baddeley, E, Sivell, S, Scott, H, Nelson, A, Bulbeck, H, Seddon, K, Grant, R, Adams, R, Watts, C, Aiyegbusi, OL, Kearns, P, Cruz Rivera, S, Dirven, L, Calvert, M & Byrne, A 2023, 'Development of a core outcome set for use in adult primary glioma phase III interventional trials: A mixed methods study', Neuro-oncology advances.

PITCH Consortium, CONSENSUS & OCTAVE Collaborative Group 2023, 'SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses and clinical outcomes after COVID-19 vaccination in patients with immune-suppressive disease', Nature Medicine.

Aggarwal, A, Choudhury, A, Fearnhead, NS, Kearns, P, Kirby, A, Lawler, M, Quinlan, S, Palmieri, C, Roques, T, Simcock, R, Walter, FM, Price, P & Sullivan, R 2023, 'The future of cancer care in the UK—time for a radical and sustainable National Cancer Plan', The Lancet Oncology.

Millen, GC, Arnold, R, Cazier, J-B, Curley, H, Feltbower, R, Gamble, A, Glaser, A, Grundy, RG, Kirton, L, Lee, LYW, McCabe, MG, Palles, C, Phillips, B, Stiller, CA, Varnai, C & Kearns, P 2022, 'COVID-19 in children with haematological malignancies', Archives of Disease in Childhood, vol. 107, no. 2, pp. 186-188.

Retzer, A, Sivell, S, Scott, H, Nelson, A, Bulbeck, H, Seddon, K, Grant, R, Adams, R, Watts, C, Aiyegbusi, OL, Kearns, P, Cruz Rivera, S, Dirven, L, Baddeley, E, Calvert, M & Byrne, A 2022, 'Development of a core outcome set and identification of patient-reportable outcomes for primary brain tumour trials: protocol for the COBra study', BMJ open, vol. 12, no. 9, e057712, pp. e057712.

Essential Medicines Group, Otth, M, Brack, E, Kearns, PR, Kozhaeva, O, Ocokoljic, M, Schoot, RA & Vassal, G 2022, 'Essential medicines for childhood cancer in Europe: a pan-European, systematic analysis by SIOPE', The Lancet Oncology, vol. 23, no. 12, pp. 1537-1546.

Nohtani, M, Vrzalikova, K, Ibrahim, M, Powell, JE, Fennell, É, Morgan, S, Grundy, R, McCarthy, K, Dewberry, S, Bouchal, J, Bouchalova, K, Kearns, P & Murray, PG 2022, 'Impact of Tumour Epstein-Barr Virus Status on Clinical Outcome in Patients with Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL): A Review of the Literature and Analysis of a Clinical Trial Cohort of Children with cHL', Cancers, vol. 14, no. 17.

CATALYST investigators, Fisher, B, Veenith, T, Slade, D, Gaskell, C, Rowland, M, Whitehouse, T, Scriven, J, Parekh, D, Balasubramaniam, M, Cooke, G, Morley, N, Gabriel, Z, Wise, M, Porter, J, McShane, H, Ho, L-P, Newsome, P, Rowe, A, Sharpe, R, Thickett, D, Bion, J, Gates, S, Richards, D, Kearns, P & Mussai, F 2022, 'Namilumab or infliximab compared with standard of care in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 (CATALYST): a randomised, multicentre, multi-arm, multistage, open-label, adaptive, phase 2, proof-of-concept trial', The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 255-266.,

the QUARTET Project and the SIOPE Radiation Oncology Working Group 2022, 'QUARTET: a SIOP Europe project for quality and excellence in radiotherapy and imaging for children and adolescents with cancer', European Journal of Cancer , vol. 172, pp. 209-220.


Pritchard-Jones, K, Challinor, JM, Hunger, SP, Sung, L, Davidson, A, Morrissey, LK, Khan, MS, Dalvi, RB, Sullivan, MJ, Hessissen, L, Chantada, GL, Kearns, P, Frazier, AL, Wollaert, S & Laub, T 2022, 'SIOP Strategy 2021-2025: cure for more, care for all', Pediatric Blood & Cancer, vol. 69, no. 6, e29577.


O’Connor, D, Joy, M, Enshaei, A, Kirkwood, A, Kearns, PR, Samarasinghe, S, Moppett, J, Moorman, AV & Vora, A 2023, 'Cranial radiotherapy has minimal benefit in children with central nervous system involvement in T-ALL', Blood Advances.

Review article

Major, A, Palese, M, Ermis, E, James, A, Villarroel, M, Klussmann, FA, Hessissen, L, Geel, J, Khan, MS, Dalvi, R, Sullivan, M, Kearns, P, Frazier, AL, Pritchard-Jones, K, Nakagawara, A, Rodriguez-Galindo, C & Volchenboum, SL 2022, 'Mapping Pediatric Oncology Clinical Trial Collaborative Groups on the Global Stage', JCO Global Oncology, vol. 8, e2100266.

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