Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology - Caroline Dive

After completing her PhD studies in Cambridge, Caroline moved to Aston University's School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Birmingham where she started her own group studying mechanisms of drug induced tumour cell death. She then moved to what became the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester to continue this research. Caroline was awarded a Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine Research Fellowship before moving to the CRUK Manchester Institute in 2003. Here she set up the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology Group interfacing with the Derek Crowther Unit for early clinical trials at The Christie. Caroline is currently a Senior Group Leader at the CRUK Manchester Institute and Professor of Pharmacology at The University of Manchester.

Throughout her career, Caroline has attracted several prizes and awards, most notably she was awarded the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier International Prize in 2012 and in 2016 the AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2015), Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (2012) and Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (2011). In 2017, Caroline was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to cancer research.


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).

The new Manchester Centre for Cancer Biomarker Sciences (MCCBS) will deliver robust prognostic, predictive and pharmacodynamic biomarkers within innovative clinical trials of mechanism based therapeutics with a typical portfolio capacity of ~50 trials.

Multiple CDX models metastasise in vivo to several target organs and are actively proliferating, as shown by the presence of CD56 positive neuroendocrine cells (red) where a proportion also stain for the mitotic marker pHH3 (green). [Left panel: CDX14, brain; right panel: CDX17P, liver]

Our group (within the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence between Manchester and UCL) also has a strong interest in lung cancer research, 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.

Selected Publications


Chemi F, Rothwell DG, McGranahan N, Gulati S, Abbosh C, Pearce SP, Zhou C, Wilson GA, Jamal-Hanjani M, Birkbak N, Pierce J, Kim CS, Ferdous S, Burt DJ, Slane-Tan D, Gomes F, Moore D, Shah R, Al Bakir M, Hiley C, Veeriah S, Summers Y, Crosbie P, Ward S, Mesquita B, Dynowski M, Biswas D, Tugwood J, Blackhall F, Miller C, Hackshaw A, Brady G, Swanton C, Dive C; TRACERx Consortium.
Pulmonary venous circulating tumor cell dissemination before tumor resection and disease relapse.
Nature Medicine [Epub 7 October 2019] PubMed abstract

Rothwell DG, Ayub M, Cook N, Thistlethwaite F, Carter L, Dean E, Smith N, Villa S, Dransfield J, Clipson A, White D, Nessa K, Ferdous S, Howell M, Gupta A, Kilerci B, Mohan S, Frese K, Gulati S, Miller C, Jordan A, Eaton H, Hickson N, O'Brien C, Graham D, Kelly C, Aruketty S, Metcalf R, Chiramel J, Tinsley N, Vickers AJ, Kurup R, Frost H, Stevenson J, Southam S, Landers D, Wallace A, Marais R, Hughes AM, Brady G, Dive C, Krebs MG. (2019)
Utility of ctDNA to support patient selection for early phase clinical trials: the TARGET study.
Nature Medicine 25(5):738-743. PubMed abstract

Lallo A, Gulati S, Schenk MW, Khandelwal G, Berglund UW, Pateras IS, Chester CPE, Pham TM, Kalderen C, Frese KK, Gorgoulis VG, Miller C, Blackhall F, Helleday T, Dive C. (2019)
Ex vivo culture of cells derived from circulating tumour cell xenograft to support small cell lung cancer research and experimental therapeutics.
British Journal of Pharmacology 176(3):436-450. PubMed abstract

Jayson GC, Zhou C, Backen A, Horsley L, Marti-Marti K, Shaw D, Mescallado N, Clamp A, Saunders MP, Valle JW, Mullamitha S, Braun M, Hasan J, McEntee D, Simpson K, Little RA, Watson Y, Cheung S, Roberts C, Ashcroft L, Manoharan P, Scherer SJ, Del Puerto O, Jackson A, O'Connor JPB, Parker GJM, Dive C. (2018)
Plasma Tie2 is a tumor vascular response biomarker for VEGF inhibitors in metastatic colorectal cancer.
Nature Communications 9(1):4672. PubMed abstract

Lallo A, Frese KK, Morrow CJ, Sloane R, Gulati S, Schenk MW, Trapani F, Simms N, Galvin M, Brown S, Hodgkinson CL, Priest L, Hughes A, Lai Z, Cadogan E, Khandelwal G, Simpson KL, Miller C, Blackhall F, O'Connor MJ, Dive C. (2018)
The Combination of the PARP inhibitor Olaparib and the WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 as a new therapeutic option for small cell lung cancer.
Clinical Cancer Research 24(20):5153-5164. PubMed abstract

Carter L, Rothwell D, Mesquita B, Smowton C, Leong HS, Fernandez-Gutierrez F, Li Y, Burt D, Antonello J, Morrow C, Hodgkinson C, Morris K, Priest L, Carter M, Miller C, Hughes A, Blackhall F, Dive C, Brady G. (2017)
Molecular analysis of circulating tumor cells identifies distinct copy-number profiles in patients with chemosensitive and chemorefractory small-cell lung cancer.
Nature Medicine 23(1):114-119. PubMed abstract

Williamson S, Metcalf R, Trapani F, Mohan S, Antonello J, Abbott B, Leong HS, Chester C , Simms N, Polanski R, Nonaka D, Priest L, Fusi A, Carlsson F, Carlsson A, Hendrix M, Seftor R, Mrs. Elisabeth Seftor, Rothwell D, Hughes A, Hicks J, Miller C, Kuhn P, Brady G, Simpson K, Blackhall F, Dive C. (2016)
Vasculogenic Mimicry in Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Nature Communication 7:13322. PubMed abstract

Girotti MR, Gremel G, Lee R, Galvani E, Rothwell D, Viros A, Mandal AK, Lim KH, Saturno G, Furney SJ, Baenke F, Pedersen M, Rogan J, Swan J, Smith M, Fusi A, Oudit D, Dhomen N, Brady G, Lorigan P, Dive C, Marais R. (2016)
Application of Sequencing, Liquid Biopsies, and Patient-Derived Xenografts for Personalized Medicine in Melanoma.
Cancer Discovery 6(3):286-99. PubMed abstract

Valle JW, Wasan H, Lopes A, Backen AC, Palmer DH, Morris K, Duggan M, Cunningham D, Anthoney DA, Corrie P, Madhusudan S, Maraveyas A, Ross PJ, Waters JS, Steward WP, Rees C, Beare S, Dive C, Bridgewater JA. (2015)
Cediranib or placebo in combination with cisplatin and gemcitabine chemotherapy for patients with advanced biliary tract cancer (ABC-03): a randomised phase 2 trial.
Lancet Oncology 16(8):967-78. PubMed abstract

Hodgkinson CL, Morrow CJ, Li Y, Metcalf RL, Rothwell DG, Trapani F, Polanski R, Burt DJ, Simpson KL, Morris K, Pepper S, Nonaka D, Greystoke A, Kelly P, Bola B, Krebs MG, Antonello J, Ayub M, Faulkner S, Priest L, Carter L, Tate C, Miller CJ, Blackhall F, Brady G & Dive C. (2014)
Tumorigenicity and genetic profiling of circulating tumor cells in small-cell lung cancer.
Nature Medicine 20(8):897-903.  PubMed abstract



Deputy Group Leader
Ged Brady

Senior Staff Scientists
Elaine Kilgour
Jonathan Tugwood

Staff Scientists
Dominic Rothwell

Associate Scientists
Kris Frese
Kathryn Simpson

Service Manager
Tony Price

Postdoctoral Fellows
Francesca Chemi
Adam Fletcher
Barbara Mesquita
Sumitra Mohan
Maria Peiris-Pages
Ruth Stoney
Stuart Williamson

Anthony Chiu
Saba Ferdous
Sakshi Gulati
Chang Kim

digital ECMT
Fouziah Butt
Paul Fitzpatrick
Hannah Frost
Andrew Hughes
Donal Landers
Leanne Ogden
Paul O’Regan
Jenny Royle
Siobhan Southam
Laura Stephenson
Julie Stevenson
Jason Swift
Jenny Ward

Clinical Fellows
Alicia Conway
Victoria Foy

Graduate Students
Alice Lallo
Jakub Chudziak
Max Schenk
Sarah Pearsall

Scientific Officers
Mahmood Ayub
Kieran Bradbury
Nicholas Brittain
Henry Brown
Stewart Brown
Debbie Burt
Holly Butterworth
Mathew Carter
Alex Clipson
Joanne Felce
Alice Fickling
Rachael Fortune-Grant
Lynsey Franklin
Melanie Galvin
Weronika Golinska
Hannah Gregson
Grace Hampson
Sarah Hilton
Michael Hoffs
Nadia Iqbal
Aileen Jardine
Hana Jelassi
Noel Kelso
Simrah Mohammad
Derrick Morgan
Karen Morris
Cristien Natal
Kamrun Nessa
Anthony Oojageer
Karen Morris
Christina Parkes
Jackie Pierce
Rebekah Pringle
Alan Redfern
Caroline Roberts
Karishma Satia
Nicole Simms
Daniel Slane-Tan
Nigel Smith
Victoria Stevenson
Sarah Taylor
Simon Topham
Amelie Viratham
Daniel White

Laboratory Manager
Matthew Lancashire

Laboratory Support Technician
Andrew Stevens

MRD Project Manager
Jonathan Wake

EA to Caroline Dive
Ekram Aidaros

Administrative Coordinators
Lisa Waters
Fiona Mckenzie-Wilde
Megan Wright