Northern Institute for Cancer Research

Staff Profile

Professor Stephen O'Brien

Professor of Haematology


Stephen O'Brien is a Professor of Haematology at Newcastle University and Honorary Consultant in Haematology at the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Following graduation and internal medical experience in Manchester, his training in haematology was undertaken at the Hammersmith Hospital in London where he subsequently completed his PhD under Professor John Goldman. He then worked in Cardiff before settling in Newcastle. He treated the first UK patients to receive Imatinib in September 1999, and continues to be closely involved with ongoing trials with this agent, as well as the newer Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors. Professor O’Brien is the Chief Investigator for the National Cancer Research Network’s SPIRIT trials in Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (, involving approximately 2,000 patients in 150 UK hospitals. Also, he is a member of the NCRI Haem Onc Clinical Studies Group and CML Working Party and the European Leukaemia Network and Chair of NICE Technology Appraisal Committee C.


  1. Clinical trials of imatinib mesylate in CML and other Ph-positive leukaemias. He was the first UK investigator to use this agent and is a member (one of four) of the Study Management Committee for the 0106 (IRIS) study comparing imatinib with IFN and Ara-C in 1106 patients.
  2. International lead of phase III SPIRIT 2 study in CML ( 810 patients, 153 sites.
  3. Development of novel diagnostics in partnership with low/middle income countries.
  4. Development of apps for clinical medicine.


Undergraduate teaching & tutoring on MBChB course. Postgraduate tutoring and lecturing in haematology.