Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology 

The Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology group (>70 staff) is focused on the delivery of personalised medicine with emphasis on development, validation and qualification of liquid biopsies to assist patient management. Specifically, we develop circulating tumour cell (CTC), circulating nucleic acid and tissue based biomarkers and with our many clinical collaborators, apply them in clinical trials to Good Clinical Practice standards (GCP). We are currently building the Manchester Centre for Cancer Biomarker Sciences (MCCBS) to deliver robust prognostic, predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers within innovative clinical trials of mechanism based therapeutics with a typical portfolio capacity of ~50 trials.   

Our group (within the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence between Manchester and UCL) also has a strong interest in lung cancer research, a particularly small cell lung cancer (SCLC) the most aggressive type of lung cancer that kills 220,000 patients globally each year. Tumour biopsies are scarce in SCLC so we recently developed landmark patient CTC derived explant models (termed CDX) that mimic the donor patients’ tumour pathology and response to chemotherapy. Our growing panel of SCLC CDX models are enabling our investigations into the biology of SCLC and its mechanisms for dissemination. These models also facilitate testing of new therapies and biomarker development, leading to early clinical trials in patients with urgent medical need.    




Figure 1: Schematic of the workflow used for isolation and genetic analysis of individual CRC CTCs. Images are of 5 putative CTCs stained for cytokeratin (CK-PE) and DAPI. Sanger sequencing data obtained from each of the 5 putative CTCs and WBCs from the same patient is shown where red arrows indicate the location of the heterozygous PIKC3A mutation observed.