EGA Institute for Women's Health


Cancer Proteomics

The group employs proteomic technologies to identify non-invasive biomarkers for the early detection or differential diagnosis of cancer and to understand the molecular mechanisms that drive cancer development and progression.

The group has expertise in the separation, characterisation and quantification of peptides and proteins using mass spectrometry (MS). Our major research themes are biomarker identification and understanding the molecular basis of cancer through the application of proteomic technologies.

A major focus is the identification of serum biomarkers for early detection of ovarian, breast, pancreaticobiliary and colon cancers. Proteomic workflows have been applied to sample sets from the UKCTOCS Longitudinal Women’s Cohort predating cancer diagnosis with biomarker candidates selected for validation. The work also involves development of sensitive biomarker assays and the application of advanced graph theory, machine learning and data science techniques to develop longitudinal predictive models for early detection.

Other biomarker discovery work also includes defining non-invasive biomarkers for differential diagnosis of endometriosis, biliary tract and ovarian cancer, for predicting outcomes in pregnancies affected by foetal growth restriction and for predicting response to therapy in primary biliary sclerosis.

More basic research is focused on determining the molecular basis of cancer, combining gene expression, proteomic profiling and gene-specific knockdown to functionally characterise implicated genes. This work also explores mechanisms of cellular signalling and how these are dysregulated in cancer, particularly delineating kinase networks downstream of the HER2 oncogene.