Faculty of Medical Sciences

Childhood Cancer

Childhood Cancer Research Group


Children's cancer research is an established academic strength in Newcastle, encompassing major research areas aimed at improving cure rates in leukaemia and neuroblastoma.

Major research themes

Our major research goals are:

  • to develop a better understanding of the biological basis of childhood cancer development and response to treatment
  • to translate these findings into improved therapies

Our central research themes are:

  • Optimisation and individualistion of therapy according to host and disease characteristics, through:
    • Improved molecular classification of childhood cancers, leading to the incorporation of prognostic and predictive biomarkers into treatment selection strategies.
    • Optimisation of chemotherapeutic approaches through an improved knowledge of factors influencing drug disposition and metabolism
  • Development of novel treatments, by:
    • Identification of novel targets, pre-clinical drug development and advancing promising new therapies to early clinical trials


The CCRG encompasses over 80 researchers supporting the advancement of childhood cancer research. Our major disease interests are in:

  • Leukaemia and lymphoma
  • Paediatric nervous system tumours - brain tumours and neuroblastoma

Our areas of specific expertise include:

  • Genomics and bioinformatics
  • Biomarker discovery and development
  • Drug target identification
  • Stem cell biology
  • Retinoid biology and therapies
  • Drug development and delivery
  • Paediatric pharmacology
  • Molecular diagnostics and pathology review
  • Early and late-phase clinical trials
  • Biobanking

Key collaborations

The CCRG brings together Principal Investigators from across the Faculty of Medicine at Newcastle University, who lead programmes of research into paediatric cancers, including non-clinical scientists, clinician scientists and clinical researchers.

Research within the CCRG is intimately linked to the clinical teams at the Great North Children’s Hospital (GNCH), and many CCRG members hold joint or honorary appointments between Newcastle University and the GNCH.  The group has strong links to national and international clinical trials organisations and coordinating groups for childhood cancer, and a network of worldwide collaborators.

Developing Researchers

We are committed to developing the childhood cancer researchers of the future, and host a series of post-graduate research students (at Masters or PhD level), including Clinical Training Fellows studying for higher degrees (MD or PhD) within their clinical training at the GNCH.

Our research training schemes for clinical academics are fully integrated within the NIHR scheme offered within the Faculty of Medicine, and provide opportunities for initial research experience (inter-calated Masters in Research for Newcastle medical students or the Academic Foundation Programme (AFP) for newly-qualified clinicians), higher-degree training (Academic Clinical Fellowships (ACF) or other national training fellowships), and early-stage academic career development (Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACL)).

Non-clinical post-doctoral scientists are supported in their development towards more independent roles, through mechanisms such as applications for internal and external fellowships.

Impact and engagement

CCRG members play major roles in developing treatments and policy for childhood cancers worldwide, through their leading roles and involvements in the national and international coordinating groups responsible for developing research and clinical trials, including:

  • UK Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) special interest groups.
  • National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Childhood Cancer and Leukaemia Clinical Study Group disease working groups.
  • International Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) disease working groups.
  • Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer (ITCC):  European coordinating group for drug development and early-phase trials.

Newcastle is the UK national coordinating centre for childhood cancer biobanking, pharmacology studies and molecular diagnostics and pathology review for medulloblastoma clinical trials.


Theme leader

Professor Steve Clifford

Dr Christopher Bacon
Senior Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Haematopathology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4404

Professor Simon Bailey
Professor of Paediatric Neuro-Oncology

Telephone: 0191 29825395

Professor Steven Clifford
Director, Newcastle University Centre for Cancer & Professor of Molecular Paediatric Oncology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2229

Emeritus Professor Andy Hall
Associate Dean of Bioresources

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7161

Professor Olaf Heidenreich
Professor of Molecular Haematology

Telephone: ++44 191-246-4365

Professor Julie Irving
Professor of Experimental Haematology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2234

Dr Michael Jackson
Senior Lecturer

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 241 8677

Professor John Lunec
Gillespie Prof of Molecular Oncology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4420

Professor Anthony Moorman
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2238

Dr Vikki Rand
Bloodwise Senior Bennett Fellow

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4437

Dr Chris Redfern
Emeritus Professor


Professor Deborah Tweddle
Professor of Paediatric Oncology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 2230

Professor Gareth Veal
Professor of Cancer Pharmacology

Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 4332

Dr Katrina Wood
Associate Clinical Lecturer