Cancer screening, biomarkers and targeted cancer therapy

Within the Faculty of Health & Medical Sciences the Cancer Research theme is headed by Professor Hardev Pandha. This research group have access to state of the art laboratories within the Leggett Building and are conducting cutting edge research into targeted therapies for cancer, diagnostic biomarkers to detect prostate cancer from patient urine and also biomarkers which will aid diagnosis and prognosis of cancer. The group is also conducting clinical trials on novel targeted cancer therapies and have strong links with both the Surrey Clinical Research Centre (CRC) and Royal Surrey County Hospital (RSCH).

The University has a world-class strength in the use of gene therapy and cancer-seeking viruses (virotherapy) for the treatment of cancer.  This strength aligns itself with the development of a phase I clinical trial strategy.  Currently, a laboratory programme is investigating the biology of a number of viral agents, which are in clinical trial either by themselves or in combination with chemotherapy and radiotherapy.  

With the development of state of the art pharmacy facilities at the Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (RSCH) and several areas to deliver such specialised treatment, this is an exciting and unique opportunity to build on the Oncology Group’s trial and laboratory expertise and become one of the UK’s leading centres for this niche area of research.  The recent arrival of Professor David Lewis, Professor of Clinical Vaccinology at the CRC has ensured that the regulatory and bio-safety aspects of this approach are observed. The appointment of a phase I trials oncologist between the CRC, FHMS and St Luke’s Cancer Centre will further enhance this collaboration.  This infrastructure will provide opportunities for increased research income, high quality publications and opportunities for MD and PhD studentships.

Within this research theme the strategic aims are to evolve basic and translational science in virotherapy and gene therapy. To collaborate between basic virology and oncology in order to develop the academic aspects of this new field.  To develop a coherent pathway for the adoption and delivery of gene therapy and virotherapy trials at CRC (if virus alone) or St Lukes cancer centre (virus plus chemotherapy). To establish the biosafety and regulatory pathway needed within the FHMS framework for all future trials in order to enable new trials to be evaluated for feasibility in a swift and efficient manner.

Additionally it is intended to advertise the above facilities and expertise via the website and at academic meetings. Help will also be sought from an appropriate marketing group.

Under this research theme close links also exist with the UK’s largest clinical prostate brachytherapy seed service at the RSCH led by Professor Stephen Langley and Dr Robert Laing.

University of Surrey also hosts the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Southern Programme Hub in the Leggett Building near the Manor Park campus directed by Professor Stephen Halloran.