Who we are
The UCL Cancer Institute was established in 2007 and is the hub for cancer research at UCL. The Institute is located in the heart of London, and part of UCL [University College London]. UCL is consistently ranked within the top 20 global universities. The Cancer Institute is part of the Faculty of Medical Sciences, within the School of Life- and Medical Sciences. This School comprises the largest concentration of biomedical researchers in Europe. The Cancer Institute hosts the majority of cancer research at UCL, whilst other cancer activities across the UCL campus form part of a new Cancer Domain. The overall remit of the Institute is to develop a cancer presence and excellence, which rival other major national and international hubs for cancer research.
The main Institute is located in the Paul O’Gorman Building, Huntley Street (226 scientists, 32 support staff), with additional presence on Tottenham Court Road in the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Centre (81 researchers and support staff) and in Haematology, Royal Free Campus (27 scientists and support staff) making a total staff of 366.
Since 2007, the Institute’s total research income has increased from £42 million, to over £85 million. This growth is due to the recruitment of new research group leaders (career establishment fellows and established professorial level recruitment), new clinician scientists (clinical senior lecturer and professorial level), and a significant increase in industrial and EU funding. Philanthropic donations have also significantly increased over the past 3 years.
The Institute is structured as five Departments (Oncology, Haematology, Pathology, CR-UK UCL Clinical Trials Centre and Cancer Biology), has an Executive Board which meets monthly, hosts over 100 post graduate students, and runs two masters programs (MSc Cancer and MSc Radiation Biology).
The Cancer Institute is affiliated with a number of teaching and specialist hospitals in central London, including University College London Hospitals (UCLH); Royal Free Hospital; and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. The Cancer Institute is also the nucleus for the UCL Cancer Research UK Centre and the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre.
Currently, the Institute has 50 scientific Group leaders, 32 clinical scientists, and 50 honorary clinical consultants. Across the new UCL Cancer Domain there are over 70 Group leads. Of the current Group leaders affiliated with cancer, there are 4 Fellows of the Royal Society, and 10 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.
Particular areas of strengths include stem cell biology, transcription factors, cell cycle, translational immunology, genomics and bioinformatics, mechanisms of chromatin regulation, gene and immunotherapy, viral oncology, drug development and clinical trials.
STRATIFIED AND PERSONALISED CANCER MEDICINE
We are at the dawn of the most exciting time in the history of cancer research and treatment. New targeted therapies are resulting in major clinical responses, and molecular markers, circulating tumour cells, as well as molecular imaging will be applied to stratify patients to the best therapies, sparing patients unnecessary toxic therapies, and facilitating evaluation of responses early during treatment to determine whether patients are responding to specific therapy. Molecular profiles, including whole genome sequencing information, will determine in the near future the best treatment for each individual patient, as well as helping to predict the likely outcome and adverse affects.
The opening in 2012 of the new UCH Macmillan Cancer Centre will significantly expand the outpatient care capabilities at UCLH, providing an opportunity to increase patient numbers during the next decade. Opening of the new Cancer Centre will lead to a major expansion of patient-orientated and translational cancer research. In particular, we will expand our GCLP facilities and our CPA accredited laboratories, supporting clinical trials, development of a genomics laboratory for stratified/personalized medicine, space to build capacity for cancer-related computational sciences and laboratory space to take advantage of advances in nanotechnology and engineering. These initiatives will allow translation of this knowledge into innovative cancer drug delivery, gene therapy and biomarker platforms. Additional space will also be provided for radiation biology research, supporting the first proton treatment centre in the U.K. affiliated with a teaching hospital, and space for teaching (expanding our successful MSc Cancer course, and developing further international masters programs in translational cancer medicine and cancer nursing care research).
Chris Boshoff FRCP PhD FMedSci
UCL Cancer Institute,
Chair, UCL Cancer Domain