Northern Institute for Cancer Research

Staff Profile

Dr Helen Reeves

Senior Lecturer & Honorary Consultant Gastroenterologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust



I am an academic hepatologist, looking after patients with primary liver cancer. My long term goal is to improve outcomes for these patients, in part by developing tools to detect their cancers earlier, but also by identifying novel therapeutic candidates to take forward into clinical use, alongside the biomarkers needed to implement them.

Roles and Responsibilities

My clinical role is that of lead physician within the Hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB) Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, co-ordinating the care of patients with hepatocellular cancer in Northern England. 

My research role and responsibility is that of a senior lecturer and lead PI in the Hepatopancreatobiliary group in the Northern Institute for cancer research. I work closely with Dr Ruchi Shukla, who has recently joined the group, as well as with Professor John Lunec and Professor Steven Wedge form the NICR, as well as with Dr Fiona Oakley and Dina Tiniakos from ICM. We presently supervise 4 PhD students, with two more joining the group in September.  

I have just completed 3 years serving as the UK representative on the European Association for Study of the Liver (EASL) governing board.


BMedSci, BM, BS, FRCP, PhD

Previous Positions

Nottingham City Hospital, JHO. Prof. AE Tattersfield 1990-91
Derby City Hospital, House Surgeon. Mr KG Callum. 1991
Newcastle Teaching Hospitals Medical SHO Rotation 1991-93
Clinical Research Associate University of Newcastle upon Tyne1993-97
Honorary Clinical Registrar, Freeman Hospital 1993-97
SpR in General Medicine and Gastroenterology 1997-00 Royal Victoria Infirmary (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) 1997-98 North Tees General Hospital (Stockton-on-Tees) 1998-99 South Cleveland Hospital (Middlesborough) 1999-00
Postdoc, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA 2000-03
SpR Freeman Hospital (FH) 2003-03
GlaxoSmithKline Senior Lecturer 2003


Royal College of Physicians
European Association for Study of the Liver
British Association for Study of the Liver

British Association for Cancer Research

European Association for Cancer Research

International Liver Cancer Association  

Honours and Awards

British Liver Trust laboratory support grant 1994
Wellcome Trust Clinical Training Fellowship 1995 Dewar Research Prize, Northern Association of Physicians 1997
Peel Medical Research Trust Travel Award 2000
American Association for Study of Liver Diseases Fellowship 2001 GlaxoSmithKline Senior Fellowship 2002
European Brewers Association Research Award 2003 Special Trustees Award 2003

GlaxoSmithKline Senior Clinician Scientist award 2003-2008 




Research Interests

  • Molecular pathogenesis of gastrointestinal cancers
  • The Role of the tumour suppressor gene Kruppel-like Factor 6 (KLF6) in the development and progression of chronic liver disease to cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer (HCC)
  • The role of KLF6 in hepatic glucose regulation and the development of non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)
  • KLF6 as a predictive biomarker in colorectal cancer progression
  • KLF6 in chemotherapy induced liver injury (KLF6) 
  • Type 2 diabetes, obesity and HCC
  • Exploitation of the DNA damage response (DDR) as a targeted therapy for patients with HCC 
  • The role of Sulfatase-2 (SULF2) in NAFLD progression and HCC
  • SULF-2 as a drug development target in HCC and pancreatic cancers 

 Other Expertise

  • Microarray analyses
  • The application of serum proteomics to chronic liver disease and HCC
  • Animal models of NAFLD and HCC 

Current Work

  • Characterisation of KLF6 in premalignant and malignant gastrointestinal disease
  • Characterisation of the KLF6IVS1-27G>A polymorphism in NAFLD and HCC
  • Exploration of KLF6 in the regulation of glucokinase and hepatic glucose metabolism
  • Exploration of KLF6 in chemotherapy induced liver injury (CALI)
  • Identification and characterisation of serum biomarkers for the surveillance of HCC
  • Inhibition of DNA Repair as a treatment strategy for HCC
  • SULF2 as a therapeutic candidate for patients with HCC and pancreatic cancers

Future Research

  • Development of biomarkers for HCC surveillance and guiding targeted therapy for those affected

  • Development of therapeutoc stratagies to prevent HCC development

  • Development of targeted therapies for patients with HCC 

Research Roles

  • Group leader
  • Supervisor of MD and PhD students
  • Supervisor of undegraduate students
  • PI for HPB and gastroenterology reserach tissue bank 

Postgraduate Supervision

  1. One post doctoral researcher
  2. One clinical research associate

Esteem Indicators

  • Publications.
  • Awarded grants
  • Invited lectures and session chair at National and International meetings


  • FP7 funded project 'FLIP' - Fatty Liver Inhibition of Progression. Subproject - The Role of KLF6 in the development and progression of HCC'.
  • LiverNorth studentship - DNA-PK as a therapeutic strategy in HCC
  • CR UK Bursary to Kei Hui - KLF6 in CALI
  • Peel medical research trust - KLF6 as a predictive biomarker in colorectal cancer

Industrial Relevance

Hoping to engage industrial partners in serum biomarker projectsnone


  • Hepatocellular cancer
  • HCC
  • KLF6
  • Alternative splicing
  • proteomincs
  • DNA-PK
  • DDR
  • SULF2
  • CALI


Undergraduate Teaching

  • Informal clinical ward based teaching on a monthly basis
  • Lecturer on CSIM3 course
  • Undergraduate tutor
  • Undergraduate students - 2 honours projects students and 2 Mres students

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Lecturer to Gastroenterology SpRs
  • Lecturer to Oncology SpRs
  • Lecturer to Transplant co-ordinators
  • Informal ward based clinical teaching
  • Non- clinical - PhD students; MD students