UCL Faculty of Medical Sciences


World Cancer Day

With a long history of major breakthroughs, UCL is home to one of the largest concentrations of cancer specialists to be found anywhere in the world. On World Cancer Day 2023, we spotlight some of the transformational work taking place across UCL with our scientific and funding partners, and look to the future with new and different approaches to cancer.

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Harnessing our own biology

A key strand of our approach to new cancer treatments, is to explore how we can use our own biology to our advantage - empowering immune cells, proteins and genes to recognise and eliminate cancer. Essentially using living cells, their components or products as the basis of a therapy.

Alyssa received new base-edited car t-cells developed at UCL
World-first use of base-edited CAR T-cells to treat resistant leukaemia

A patient with relapsed T-cell leukaemia has been given base-edited T-cells in a world-first use of a base-edited cell therapy, in a ‘bench-to-bedside’ collaboration between UCL and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH).

Trial of innovative blood cancer treatment expanded, clinician in a hospital ward with intravenous drip
Trial of innovative CAR-T blood cancer treatment expanded

A clinical trial of a personalised therapy for blood cancer, led by researchers at UCL and UCLH, has been expanded enabling new groups of patients with a wider range of blood cancers to now receive the treatment.

UCL cancer grand challenges team
UCL researchers receive £12m from Cancer Grand Challenges

Seven scientists at UCL will take on some of the toughest obstacles in cancer, after being selected to play leading roles in the latest global Cancer Grand Challenges. The team will work to develop next-generation immunotherapies for children with solid cancers.

Engineering better outcomes

We look beyond the biomedicine field to leverage the strenths of our entire university - embracing a new era of engineering and computation to advance the detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer.

robot-assisted surgery
Robotic surgery is safer and improves patient recovery time

Robot-assisted surgery used to perform bladder cancer removal enables patients to recover far more quickly and spend significantly (20 per cent) less time in hospital, concludes a first-of-its kind clinical trial led by scientists at UCL and the University of Sheffield.

loyalty card being handed to another person
Loyalty card data could help identify ovarian cancer symptoms sooner

The first-of-its kind study found that pain and indigestion medication purchases were higher in women who were subsequently diagnosed with ovarian cancer, compared to women who did not have ovarian cancer.

Netflix-style algorithm builds blueprint of cancer genomes
Netflix-style algorithm builds blueprint of cancer genomes

The science behind your Netflix viewing habits could soon be used to guide doctors in managing cancer, according to new research co-led by UCL scientists and funded by Cancer Research UK and Cancer Grand Challenges.

Leaving no one behind

One of UCL's founding principles is to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Being in the heart of London, serving a diverse population, we are determined to leave no one behind. 

Cover of lancet report
Racism and discrimination are fundamental drivers of health disparities worldwide

Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination are important influences on health globally, but have so far been overlooked by health researchers, policymakers, and practitioners, finds new UCL-led research.

Pollution over LA city
How air pollution can cause lung cancer in non-smokers revealed

A new study led by researchers at UCL and the Francis Crick Institute has demonstrated for the first time how air pollution can cause lung cancer in people who have never smoked. The research is part of the TRACERx Lung Study.

People in waiting room
UCL’s Professor Sir Michael Marmot launches UK’s first health equity network

Professor Sir Michael Marmot, Director, UCL Institute of Health Equity, launches a country-wide network to help towns, cities and regions build back fairer. The network seeks to bring together organisations and communities across the country to connect and collaborate with those working towards similar health equity goals.

Training and supporting the next generation

UCL's is a global leader in research and education. Our scientific community is dedicated to discovering new techniques in cancer detection and treatment that can make a real different to the lives of cancer patients. 

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Developing CAR T immunotherapy to treat glioblastoma

PhD student, Morgan Palton, talks about her immunotherapy research and the UCL CAR T programme at UCL, plus her experiences studying our Cancer MSc course. 

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New approaches to understanding and treating brain tumours

Dr Lucy Brooks  is researching radioresistance in glioblastoma -  looking at how to manipulate tumour cells to make them more responsive to treatment. 

Patient stories from our Cancer Trials Centre

These patients were offered CAR T-cell therapy as part of a clinical trial at UCLH when their previous treatments for lymphoma or leukaemia had proved unsuccessful. The therapy involves collecting some of a patient’s immune cells, genetically engineering them in a lab so they are better able to target cancer, and then putting them back into the patient's body during a process called 'infusion'.

Sophie's story

Sophie, 26, began CAR T-cell therapy after her leukaemia returned for a third time. Now, things are finally getting back to normal.

Claire's story

Claire was referred to UCLH's CAR T-cell therapy trial after a difficult experience with a bone marrow transplant. She says it saved her life.

Panos's story

After three unsuccessful courses of chemotherapy, Panos underwent CAR T-cell therapy, which proved to be a 'miraculous treatment'.

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UCL Giving

The Alviar Cohen Fund: a lifesaving legacy
In 2017, fifteen-year-old Alviar Cohen was one of the 8,500 people to be diagnosed with leukaemia each year in the UK. Now, the funds he raised are contributing to new treatments for future patients.

Celia and Anthony Abrahams: passing the baton
Since her death, Celia Abrahams’ family have worked to ensure that her passionate belief in driving medical advances through research continues to inspire better outcomes for people with brain cancer.

Agilent Thought Leader Award
Professor Gerhardt Attard UCL cancer researcher receives Agilent Thought Leader Award for transformative prostate cancer clinical research using cutting-edge liquid biopsy technologies.