Cancer Medicine Group

Group Leader: Professor Christopher Twelves

Our goal is to develop more effective cancer therapies, tailored to individual patients’ need, through experimental cancer medicine and randomised clinical trials; many trials incorporate translational laboratory studies. Health services research and clinical informatics are an emerging focus.

Research Areas

Our activities span from first-in-man studies, through to health services research.

Experimental cancer medicine trials:

We (Twelves, Anthoney, Ralph) have a portfolio of early clinical trials of novel agents and combinations. We prioritise studies developed locally, in particular, academic and pharma sponsored translational viral therapy trials (with Alan Melcher, LICAP); collaborators include Christian Ottensmeier (Southampton). We are setting up a study of a novel drug delivery system and vascular disrupting agent developed in Bradford. We conduct early trials with Cancer Research UK Drug Development and other ECMCs.

We are expanding our portfolio of brain (with Susan Short, LICAP) and radiotherapy studies (with David Sebag-Montefiore; LICAP).

Patients are treated in the NIHR Leeds Clinical Research Facility (LCRF), designated specifically for patients on trials and staffed by a dedicated research team.

Randomised clinical trials:

We (Twelves, Anthoney, Hall, Mulatero) carry out trials across a wide range of tumour types with an emphasis on melanoma, brain, urological and lung cancers with Susan Short, Nav Vasudev and Alan Melcher (LICAP).

Across both experimental cancer medicine and randomised clinical trials there are close links to

  • The Clinical Support Team (Debbie Beirne) of around 50 research nurses and other staff who also support NHS consultants in the delivering clinical trials.
  • The Tissue Sample Collection and Processing Team (Roz Banks, LICAP).
  • The Institute of Cancer Therapeutics, Bradford (Paul Loadman) with whom pharmacokinetic studies are undertaken.
  • The Clinical Trials Research Unit (Julia Brown), and in particular the Cancer Research Division (Walter Gregory), in the design co-ordination and analysis of clinical trials.

Health Services Research:

We are developing a programme of health services research focused on the application of clinical informatics to the challenges of genomics and delivery of effective cancer services (Hall), cancer in teenagers and young adults (Stark) and survivorship (Stark, Wright, Velikova).


Professor Chris Twelves (PI/Group and Section Leader)

Dr Alan Anthoney (Senior Lecturer)

Dr Geoff Hall (Senior Lecturer)

Dr Dan Stark (Senior Lecturer)

Dr Clive Mulatero (Senior Lecturer)

Dr Christy Ralph (Associate Professor)


Stark D, Nankivell M, Pujade-Lauraine E, Kristensen G, Elit L, Stockler M, Hilpert F, Cervantes A, Brown J, Lanceley A, Velikova G, Sabate E, Pfisterer J, Carey MS, Beale P, Qian W, Swart AM, Oza A, Perren T. Standard chemotherapy with or without bevacizumab in advanced ovarian cancer: quality-of-life outcomes from the International Collaboration on Ovarian Neoplasms (ICON7) phase 3 randomised trial. Lancet Oncol. 2013 Mar;14(3):236-43.

Karapanagiotou EM, Roulstone V, Twigger K, Ball M, Tanay M, Nutting C, Newbold K, Gore ME, Larkin J, Syrigos KN, Coffey M, Thompson B, Mettinger K, Vile RG, Pandha HS, Hall GD, Melcher AA, Chester J, Harrington KJ. Phase I/II trial of carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy in combination with intravenous oncolytic reovirus in patients with advanced malignancies. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Apr 1;18(7):2080-9.

Cortes J, O'Shaughnessy J, Loesch D, Blum JL, Vahdat LT, Petrakova K, Chollet P, Manikas A, DiƩras V, Delozier T, Vladimirov V, Cardoso F, Koh H, Bougnoux P, Dutcus CE, Seegobin S, Mir D, Meneses N, Wanders J, Twelves C; EMBRACE (Eisai Metastatic Breast Cancer Study Assessing Physician's Choice Versus E7389) investigators. Eribulin monotherapy versus treatment of physician's choice in patients with metastatic breast cancer (EMBRACE): a phase 3 open-label randomised study. Lancet. 2011 Mar 12;377(9769):914-23.

Massard C, Soria JC, Anthoney DA, Proctor A, Scaburri A, Pacciarini MA, Laffranchi B, Pellizzoni C, Kroemer G, Armand JP, Balheda R, Twelves CJ. A first in man, phase I dose-escalation study of PHA-793887, an inhibitor of multiple cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK2, 1 and 4) reveals unexpected hepatotoxicity in patients with solid tumors. Cell Cycle. 2011 Mar 15;10(6):963-70.

Albertella MR, Loadman PM, Jones PH, Phillips RM, Rampling R, Burnet N, Alcock C, Anthoney A, Vjaters E, Dunk CR, Harris PA, Wong A, Lalani AS, Twelves CJ. Hypoxia-selective targeting by the bioreductive prodrug AQ4N in patients with solid tumors: results of a phase I study. Clin Cancer Res. 2008 Feb 15;14(4):1096-104.


We have funding from Cancer Research UK and NIHR for the ECMC and Leeds LCRF.

We have additional funding from Macmillan Cancer Support. 

Clinical trials are funded by pharma collaborators, Cancer Research UK New Agents Committee and the Cancer Research UK/AstraZeneca Combinations Alliance, and a Wellcome Seeding Drug Discovery award.


Mr Yousef Hawsawi (with Dr Jim Beattie and Professor Val Spiers)

Related Links

Leeds Cancer Research UK Centre

Leeds Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre