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study and has a number of national and international collaborations. Research within recent years has also focused upon the biology of bladder cancer and the clinical application of this knowledge. The Unit has developed a track record in the application of artificial intelligence to clinical data. Fuzzy logic-based models are being used to analyse clinical case data and produce accurate predictions of disease outcome. The unit also carries out clinical studies aimed at improving outcomes post-surgery for thyroid and parathyroid neoplasia.

Much of our research translates directly into the clinic, for example our work in:

• Biological importance of RANKL/RANK/OPG signalling and early development of denosumab.

• Sequence-dependent synergy between cytotoxic agents and the bisphosphonate zolendronic acid in vitro, in vivo and in the clinic, with completed randomised phase II trial (ANZAC) with biomarkers endpoint.

• First evaluation of novel bone biomarkers in oncology, resulting in routine inclusion in development of bone targeted treatments and providing powerful prognostic and predictive information in clinical practice.

• First description of the importance of PARP inhibition in BRCA deficient tumours. This has led to a global programme which is focussed on the development of drugs that can inhibit PARP and be used for the treatment of breast, ovarian and other cancers for which DNA repair is an important therapeutic target.

Our partnerships

We have major partnerships with Yorkshire Cancer Research, the UK’s largest regional medical research charity, Cancer Research UK, the UK’s leading cancer charity, the Breast Cancer Campaign, Western Park Hospital, the Department of Health, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the NHS.

We have flourishing research links with laboratory- based research teams both in Sheffield and beyond, all of which provide opportunities for translational research in bone oncology, biomarker development, lung cancer and immunotherapies. We also have a number of strong national and international links, including the National Cancer Research Institute and the European Organisation for Research and Treatment in Cancer.

For more information please go to

35 Dr Collis was recruited to the

Institute for Cancer Studies within the Department of Oncology in October 2009 to establish an independent research programme focusing on DNA repair pathways, which are often dysregulated in cancer.

The work of his lab aims to understand

the complex mechanisms of DNA repair pathways in order to expand our

knowledge of cancer development and

progression. The lab focuses its efforts on the discovery and characterisation of new proteins that are involved in the detection, signalling and subsequent repair of DNA damage.

The lab also aims to determine if

mutations in these proteins leads to the development of genetically unstable human diseases such as cancer. It is

hoped that this work could eventually lead to the development of new or improved anti-cancer treatments and clinically useful biomarkers.

In September 2010, Dr. Collis was awarded a prestigious CRUK Senior Cancer Research Fellowship worth £1.2 million over the next six years to enable his lab to

carry out this work. Additional support for research in the lab is provided by Yorkshire Cancer Research.


Dr. Spencer Collis

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