Clinicians, scientists and students engaged in cancer research at Newcastle share a common purpose: to improve treatment outcomes for patients with cancer. Work covers a broad spectrum - understanding the biological and molecular differences between normal and malignant cells and using this knowledge to develop new anti-cancer drugs.
Our staff and postgraduate students are based in the Northern Institute for Cancer Research (NICR) or the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences. The NICR incorporates the Newcastle Cancer Centre, a unique collaboration between Cancer Research UK and the North of England Children's Cancer Research Fund.
We are a major training base for the next generation of cancer researchers. Our Institute covers many areas of cancer research, including:
- solid tumours and leukaemias
- childhood and adult cancers
- drug discovery and early phase clinical trials
We offer approximately 15 MD, PhD and integrated MRes/PhD studentships each year, including the Newcastle Cancer Centre training programme. Projects in all research areas are available to fully-funded international students.
Members of our postgraduate community come from a variety of subject backgrounds including biological and biomedical sciences, chemistry, genetics, pharmacy, medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine.
We hold regular postgraduate seminars which you will be required to attend and where you will deliver presentations. You will also attend and present your data annually at national cancer research meetings and at least one international meeting.
Quality and Ranking
We rank in the top 100 for Medicine - QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019
MPhil, PhD and MD supervision is normally available in the following research areas:
Exploratory biology, target and biomarker discovery
Molecular genetic and mechanistic studies are used to identify critical molecular changes in cancer and their relevance to disease development and progression, and to validate these as biomarkers and targets for therapeutic intervention. A wide range of contemporary genomic, bioinformatic, molecular biology, biochemical and cell biology techniques are used.
Studies focus on haematological malignancies (leukaemia and lymphoma), paediatric solid tumours (neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma), and adult solid tumours (eg breast, ovarian, prostate, bladder and liver cancers).
We exploit critical molecular defects as biomarkers to enhance disease detection and diagnosis, prediction of disease course, sensitivity to specific drugs and therapeutic monitoring. We play leading roles in molecular diagnostics, biomarker assessment and therapeutic monitoring for national and international clinical trials.
The exploitation of novel targets is achieved by the use of rational drug design, notably the use of structure-based design, in conjunction with medium-throughput screening. Target molecule synthesis and multiple parallel synthesis approaches are used for lead optimisation, and candidate drugs are evaluated in cell-free and whole cell target-based assays.
Clinical trials (Phase I/II/III) are undertaken in both adults and children. Trials have a strong hypothesis-testing translational research component and are performed under the auspices of national or international research networks (eg CR–UK, Children's Cancer and Leukaemia Group, European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer), as well as directly in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry.
We are one of the few academic centres in the UK able to undertake this specialist cancer research. Our expert staff, facilities and our close working relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors, and with clinical trials networks, helps us achieve this.
Read more about staff specialisms.
See How to Apply tab in the Programme information in our online Prospectus.