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Cancer Cell Biology

The Cancer Cell Biology research area aims to improve our understanding of the cellular mechanisms that lead to the development and treatment of cancer.

Our team work with clinicians, clinical scientists, radiologists, pathologists, and collaborators from both academia and the pharmaceutical industry to investigate the mechanisms of tumour development, progression and metastasis, in order to develop novel treatments and diagnostic techniques.

Our specialist research interests span a range of areas including ovarian, prostate, liver and breast cancer. In particular we study alterations in DNA repair (the repairome) in human disease, the role of transglutaminase enzymes in chemotherapeutic drug resistance, and by investigating the effects of naturally occurring compounds from sources such as herbs and red wine on the molecular basis of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells. These projects typically involve experimental aspects of cell and molecular biology, tissue culture, cellular imaging, (using specialist flow cytometry techniques and confocal microscopy), high throughput immunohistological analysis of human tissue samples, epidemiology and bioinformatics.

Our academic interests in the underlying basic biology of cancer provide a focus for our inter-disciplinary research, which aims to deliver positive translational impact in order to improve the treatment and quality of life for cancer patients.

Our research is focused into three main themes:

Cancer biology, pathophysiology and prevention

Prof Christopher Parris, Dr Peter Coussons, Dr Claire Pike
Rob Bonemei (PhD student)

Cancer diagnosis and prognosis

Dr Peter Coussons, Dr Claire Pike
Fiona Blows (PhD student)

Anti-cancer drugs, monoclonal antibodies and other therapeutics

Dr Peter Coussons, Dr Claire Pike
Ashley Clark (PhD student)

The Cancer Cell Biology research area is part of the Biomedical Research Group.

We offer our Biomedical Science PhD, and a range of innovative research project opportunities for postgraduate researchers.


Find out more about our members by exploring their staff profiles.

Key publications

Bourton, E. C., Ahorner, P. A., Plowman, P. N., Zahir, S. A., Al-Ali, H., Parris, C. N., 2017. The PARP-1 inhibitor Olaparib suppresses BRCA1 protein levels, increases apoptosis and causes radiation hypersensitivity in BRCA1 lymphoblastoid cells. Journal of Cancer, 19(8), pp. 4048-4056.

Meshram, D. D., Pike, C. V. S.Coussons, P. J., 2017. Inhibition of Transglutaminase 2 activity increases cisplatin cytotoxicity in a model of human hepatocarcinoma chemotherapy. European Journal of Pharmacology, (815), pp. 332-342.