Cancer Research Group

Hull has one of the highest incidences of and mortality rates from cancer in the country. At Hull York Medical School and in partnership with the University of Hull, the Cancer Research Group fosters and promotes translational research to tackle this area. 

Hull York Medical School carries out cancer research to a very high standard, and the opening of the Allam Building and the development of a CT/PET/cyclotron scanner on the Castle Hill Hospital site in 2017 enabled the team to expand and develop its world-class cancer research.

The biomedical research centre was made possible by a £1.5m donation from Dr Assem Allam. The Allam Building, which is situated on the University of Hull campus, houses two research centres focusing on cardiovascular diseases and cancer. A further donation by the Daisy Appeal has helped with the purchase of two mini cyclotrons, proton-accelerating machines for use in medical applications.

The Queen's Centre at Castle Hill Hospital provides a large resource for clinical research and has been awarded a Level 5 Macmillan Quality Environment Mark, the highest mark available.

Castle Hill Hospital has also established the Daisy Tumour Bank to collect various human samples to share with researchers, thus providing a resource of biological material to facilitate ethically approved cancer research. It is hoped that the research will improve understanding and knowledge of cancer to benefit patients in the future.

TRANSFORMing Cancer Outcomes in Yorkshire

TRANSFORM, a £4.9m programme funded by Yorkshire Cancer Research, will help to understand why differences exist in cancer diagnosis and survival in Hull and Yorkshire, and how to reduce inequalities, speed up referrals, and improve access to care and treatment. The research will primarily focus on early diagnosis and detection of cancer, patient management and survivorship and palliative care. This project brings together researchers from the Cancer Research Group, the Wolfson Palliative Care Research Centre and the Academy of Primary Care.

Research themes

The four main themes of the group's work are:

  • Imaging
  • Tumour microenvironment
  • Novel Technologies
  • Clinical studies

Head of group

Academic and research staff

  • Dr Laura Broughton - Research Development Assistant in Academic Oncology, Castle Hill Hospital
  • Dr Kathryn Date - Clinical Research Development Assistant (currently on maternity)
  • Dr Antony Maraveyas - Reader in Oncology
  • Dr Azeem Saleem - Reader and Honorary Consultant in Clinical Oncology
  • Alex Wray - Clinical Research Fellow (Cancer Nursing)

Professional services staff

Postgraduate students

  • Zainab Al-Ali - PhD student
  • Tahani Al-Resheedi - PhD student
  • Fada Jabber - PhD student
  • Gillian Jackson - PhD student
  • Boon-Uma Jowanaridhi - PhD student
  • Rhiannon Lee - PhD student
  • Sharjeela Tariq - MD student
Research projects

Preclinical Positron Emission Tomography (PET) research project

The aim of this project is to produce radioisotopes using a cyclotron which can be incorporated into targeting molecules and, using a PET/CT scanner, be used for early diagnosis of diseases such as cancer and dementia.

Funded by: Daisy Appeal, Dr Assem Allam and the University of Hull

Yorkshire Cancer Research Centre for early phase clinical trials

This project proposes the development of a Yorkshire-centred early clinical trials network, addressing scientifically-driven research questions of relevance to the Yorkshire population. Funding is requested to support the necessary infrastructure across the county, led by a steering group of experienced researchers from each centre. The focus is on proof of concept and feasibility studies covering specific research areas of strength including radiotherapy/drug combinations, biological therapies and novel therapeutic targets in order to accelerate through-flow of new cancer treatments from bench to bedside. The project will also provide support and mentorship to early-career clinicians to develop the clinical research leaders of the future.

Funded by:  Yorkshire Cancer Research

Peripheral blood detection of EGFR status in lung cancer patients

Lung cancer is the single biggest killer from malignant disease in Yorkshire, with nearly 6000 new cases diagnosed each year. Approximately 10 per cent of patients have a mutation in a protein on the surface of their lung cancer cells called the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Knowledge of this mutation in individual patients is important as these patients respond to a class of drugs called receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors rather than conventional chemotherapy with fewer side effects. However, to ascertain whether a patient has a mutation, a biopsy is required. Biopsies of lung tumours may be hazardous and can cause haemorrhage or lung collapse, and only 70 per cent of patients with lung cancer get a biopsy for these reasons. This study has developed a method of obtaining EGFR status from a peripheral blood sample which should make the treatment available to more lung cancer patients.

Funded by: Yorkshire Cancer Research

Reducing inequalities in cancer outcomes in Yorkshire: Realising our potential for innovation in diagnosis, patient management, survivorship and palliative care research

The death rate from cancer is higher in Yorkshire than the rest of England, resulting in about 200 extra deaths each year, of which more than half are in Hull. There are other significant cancer outcome inequalities between different groups; for example poorer people and older people are more likely to die sooner. This project aims to conduct research to understand these differences, and develop and test ways to reduce the inequalities and improve access to care and best treatments.

Funded by: Yorkshire Cancer Research

Urinary Tissue Factor Signal Transduction Peptides (uTF-STP) as a diagnostic marker for urothelial carcinoma of the bladder

Funded by: C-term Diagnostics Limited

MicroRNA-31 regulates chemosensitivity in malignant pleural mesothelioma

Funded by: Kazan McClain Partners Foundation