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Urological Cancer

Defining biological mechanisms in urological cancers to improve patient outcomes.

In the UK there are approximately 60,000 cases of prostate and bladder cancer each year. This results in more than 17,000 deaths.

We are a team of scientists and clinicians. We work to identify the critical genes implicated in the development of prostate and bladder tumours. We also study the signalling processes underlying the metastatic process and acquired resistance to therapeutic agents.

A major theme of our research is the epigenetic regulation of the androgen-androgen receptor signalling pathway in prostate cancer. This extends to the identification of novel therapeutics that target this signalling axis.

We use advanced molecular techniques. These include CRISPR-Cas gene editing and next generation sequencing technologies. This helps us to:

  • understand the mechanisms that result in aberrant cellular signalling
  • identify the genes responsible for promoting growth of prostate and bladder tumours

We have developed a range of pre-clinical prostate and bladder cancer models including:

  • induced pluripotent stem cells
  • organoids
  • precision cut tumour slices - available to comprehensively validate the role of tumour promoting genes

Our translational research team comprises:

  • urological surgeons
  • pathologists
  • oncologists
  • laboratory scientists

We collaborate to analyse tumour biopsies and blood samples from individual patients. We are able to comprehensively profile tumour heterogeneity for each patient. We do this by applying techniques such as tissue imaging and proteomic-based imaging mass cytometry. Liquid biopsies are extensively examined in biomarker studies. This allows us to evaluate protein expression and genetic mutations in circulating tumour cells and cell-free tumour DNA.

Critical to our research is the contribution to clinical trials. We lead a major surgical randomised clinical trial titled PHOTO. It aims to assess the benefits of photodynamic resection in bladder cancer that incorporates mitochondrial DNA mutation lineage tracking as a biomarker for disease progression.

We also have our VARIANT biomarker trial. It monitors androgen receptor gene alterations in patients with advanced prostate cancer.

  1. The Paul O'Gorman building - Craig Robson, Luke Gaughan, Rakesh Heer, Stuart McCrackenKelly Coffey
  2. Internationl Centre for Life - David ElliottJennifer Munkley
  3. Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research - Laura Greaves, Doug Turnbull, Rob Taylor
  4. Drug Discovery Unit - Steve Wedge, Mike WaringMartin Noble
  5. Chromosome Biology Theme - Adam Wollman

Links to our groups