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 2022, we spotlight some of the transformational work taking place across UCL with our scientific and funding partners.

A multidisciplinary and collaborative approach 

From cell biology and genetics, to medical imaging and clinical trials, UCL brings together the greatest expertise across the disciplines of life and medical sciences, social sciences and engineering to understand cancer and develop safer, more effective treatments.

Graphic representation of a CAR T-cell attacking a cancer cell

Second generation CAR T-cell therapy trialled in patients

A new CAR T-cell therapy developed by scientists at UCL has fewer ‘toxic’ side-effects and is more durable, targeting and killing cancer cells for longer, concludes a Phase I clinical trial of patients at University College London Hospitals (UCLH).

Stained bone marrow aspirate smear of patient with precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia

Discovery of ‘sleepy’ dormant cells that resist chemotherapy paves way to new therapies

Scientists at UCL have discovered that some patients with a common type of childhood cancer do not respond to treatment because of a rare and previously unrecognised type of cancer cell, which has the unique capacity to “lie dormant” during chemotherapy and resist its effects.

Clinician and patient

Targeted screening for prostate cancer could prevent one in six deaths

A national screening programme targeted at men who are genetically pre-disposed to prostate cancer, and involving a blood test and MRI scan before an invasive biopsy, could prevent one in six deaths and significantly reduce over-diagnosis, finds a new UCL-led study.

Proton beam treatment room

Unlocking the full potential of radiotherapy

CRUK RadNet City of London is a major national and international radiation research hub that aims to make radiotherapy a more effective treatment for cancer. Learn more about how RadNet will fast-track development of advanced techniques in radiotherapy. 

International Alliance for Cancer Early Detection (ACED)

The International Alliance for Early Cancer Detection (ACED)

ACED is a new £55 million partnership between Cancer Research UK, the Canary Center at Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the Knight Cancer Institute at OHSU, UCL and the University of Manchester. The UCL ACED Centre aims to predict and inform the role of imaging and its integration with other biomarkers in cancer early detection. 


Partnership working to accelerate research and innovation into practice

Improving health and care through research, innovation and education. UCLPartners brings together NHS trusts and universities across North and East London, Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. By working together, UCLP supports around eight million patients with a broad range of healthcare needs.

Graphic illustration of MINIMA cancer therapy developed by UCL

Magnetic seeds used to heat and kill cancer

Scientists at UCL have developed a novel cancer therapy that uses an MRI scanner to guide a magnetic seed through the brain to heat and destroy tumours.

UCLH Proton Bean gantry

Advancing the future of cancer therapy with proton beam research

One of only two NHS proton beam centres in the UK, the new centre at UCLH brings together some of the world’s leading specialists in complex cancers and will drive forward research into what remains a relatively new treatment.

REANIMATE virtual tumour graphic

REANIMATE: Virtual tumours to aid cancer drug delivery

Every tumour is unique – which makes it hard to tell which drugs will work on it. In an exciting step towards personalised medicine, UCL researchers have combined imaging techniques with mathematical models to predict which treatments will be most effective.

Training the next generation of researchers and clinicians

UCL's research-based education engages students with the very latest knowledge and thinking and empowers them, step by step, to apply the skills and dispositions needed to study, treat and manage cancer.

Early stage researcher, Morgan Palton, on immunotherapy and glioblastoma

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

Undergraduate study | Cancer Biomedicine BSc 

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Cancer Biomedicine BSc students, Ashton Hunt and Rahul Vital, share their experiences studying the Cancer Biomedicine BSc programme at UCL. 

New approaches to understanding and treating brain tumours

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


UCL Innovation and Enterprise 

Every thriving business, life-saving medicine and revolutionary technology begins as an idea. UCL students, staff and partners come together to turn knowledge and ideas into the solutions that benefit us all.

Lab personnel using syringe and test tubes
UCL startup acquired by biotechnology company in bid to find cancer drugs in ‘record time’

Founded in 2018, by UCL Computer Science PhD students Leo Wossnig and Ed Grant - alongside entrepreneurs Miriam Cha and Ian Horobin - machine learning company, Rahko, has been bought by US-based biotechnology firm, Odyssey Therapeutics, in a move that will bring together artificial intelligence and drug-discovery software to improve medical development for patients with cancer and inflammatory disease.

More enterprise news

The power of philanthropy to advance cancer therapies

Philanthropic giving plays a vital part in supporting and accelerating cancer research and education, so that discoveries made in the lab can be translated to the clinic sooner. 

Clear cell sarcoma microscopy image

Edward Showler Foundation and UCL partner to accelerate research into clear cell sarcoma

The Edward Showler Foundation and UCL have forged a philanthropic partnership that will support pioneering research into clear cell sarcoma (CCS) – a rare type of soft tissue cancer with few available treatments.

Two researchers in lab at UCL Cancer Institute

Research into immune therapies for cancer boosted by Mark Foundation ASPIRE award

Dr Claire Roddie and Professor Tariq Enver have been awarded an ASPIRE award for their work on T-cell reprogramming for the treatment of cancers. They plan to ‘super charge’ Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocyte (TIL) therapy for cancer. The award has been made by US-based philanthropic organisation, The Mark Foundation for Cancer Research. 

Mark Emberton, Tariq Enver and Sir Peter Wood

UCL Cancer Institute receives £1.875m gift from Sir Peter Wood CBE

UCL Cancer Institute's life-saving work has been bolstered by a £1.875 million donation from Sir Peter Wood CBE that will fund vital research, equipment and educational opportunities. 

"The real impact of philanthropy is that it gives the brightest minds the freedom to think – and do – differently; that is where breakthroughs happen.” Professor Tariq Enver, Director, UCL Cancer Institute.

If you are interested in learning more about supporting our cancer research please contact advancement@ucl.ac.uk

Made at UCL

Through our research, many minds at UCL work together to improve lives and communities and create real world impact. Find out more about the disruptive discoveries from UCL that are transforming healthcare. 

#MadeatUCL Podcast: Maps

Prof Mark Emberton, surgeon, urologist and the Dean of Medical Sciences at UCL, explains how MRI and ultrasound are transforming diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

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#MadeatUCL | Targeted Radiotherapy

A pioneering breast cancer therapy developed by UCL clinicians requires just one shot of radiotherapy rather than conventional weeks-long treatment.

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UCL Brain Cancer Seminar Series

Catch up with the latest Brain Cancer scientific seminar featuring:

  • Laura K. Donovan - (UCL GOS ICH) The basic science of CAR T-cells and challenges facing the treatment of aggressive paediatric brain tumours

  • Mathew Voisin - (UoT) Determining the underlying mechanisms of glioma progression and recurrence

12 October 2022 12:00 - 13:00 BST

Public lecture series

Catch up with UCL's online lectures - virtual events designed to inspire and inform.

The Big "C"  | UCL Medical Sciences Public Lecture

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Dr Ursula McGovern is a Consultant Medical Oncologist at UCLH, speclialising in the treatment of prostate and bladder cancer. Here, Ursula talks about we are with cancer care in the UK.

Can we use the immune system to fight cancer

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Dr Claire Roddie, Associate Professor, UCL and Consultant Haematologist at UCLH, discusses the science of biohacking, where biologists can reprogram the body's immune cells to recognise and fight cancer.

Radiation physics in medicine | Spring into STEM

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Professor Gary Royle explains how the study of physics is applied to medicine to create groundbreaking new treatments such as radiotherapy and proton beam therapy which are used to treat cancer today.

View more lectures

Cancer news

Cancer Lab

£100m funding for UK wide cancer research network

Cancer Research UK has confirmed The CRUK City of London Centre, led by Professor Tariq Enver (UCL Cancer Institute), will continue to research and develop pioneering new biotheraputics, as part of a new £100 million investment.


How surviving cancer as a child affects lifelong health

People who survive cancer early in their life have higher risks of ill health as they grow older, and these risks vary according to the cancer type and how the cancer was treated, a new study by UCL researchers has found.

All cancer news