Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is a world-leader in cancer research, and is home to Barts Cancer Institute – an official CRUK centre. The Blizard Institute also houses key cancer research themes including in skin cancer, brain cancer, childhood cancer, colorectal cancer, and oral cancer. An overview of cancer research at QMUL can be found here.
A major strength of cancer research at QMUL is our focus on in vitro cancer models. This has important advantages in enabling more accurate prediction for clinical prognosis, and development of new therapies. Major initiatives have included the CANBUILD project, development of microfluidic cancer models, and cancer metastasis models. All of these initiatives involve cross-faculty collaboration, and this multi-disciplinary approach is a great strength – cancer research at QMUL involves biologists, computer scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Investment in cross-faculty facilities including the CREATE lab has been an important factor in the success of this approach.
The growth of the Animal Replacement Centre (ARC), within the Blizard Institute, has been an exciting recent development. This is a centre of excellence for the development of accurate human cancer models that can reduce the number of animals used in cancer research. Funded by Animal Free Research UK, and directed by Prof Mike Philpott and Dr Adrian Biddle, the ARC is improving the ability to predict the behaviour of human cancer using in vitro human models. Since launching, the ARC has attracted further funding from the National Centre for the 3Rs (NC3Rs) to develop a metastasis on a chip model, and Oracle Cancer Trust to pursue the use of in vitro models for development of a clinically predictive disease signature for oral cancer.