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The University of Southampton
Institute for Life Sciences

IfLS Conference focusing on technologies at the forefront of precision cancer medicine

Published: 2 May 2017
Image credit: Dr Jonathan West
Image credit: Dr Jonathan West

An exciting interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Institute for Life Sciences will focus on the technologies at the forefront of Precision Cancer Medicine.

The event is led by Professor Tim Elliott, newly appointed Director of Southampton’s planned Centre for Cancer Immunology, and will draw together experts in the field of precision medicine to share their work on developing new technology and translating it into the clinic.

The conference Precision Cancer Medicine: Forefront Technologies at the Clinical Interface, taking place in September, will explore new approaches to diagnosis, imaging, targeted therapy and precision diagnostics, and will be of interest to national and European clinicians and life technologists.

Precision medicine is an emerging field of research that has come about over the past two decades as a result of the increasing amount of individualised information that can be obtained from molecular profiling.

This has opened new doors to the potential of helping doctors to deliver the right treatment to the right patients at the right time.

Tim said: “Currently, doctors do a great job of making sure patients receive treatments that are likely to make them better.  Now they are beginning to incorporate molecular information into their diagnoses which will help guide them when making decisions about treatment. It will allow us to match existing and new therapies to individual patients more accurately.  Molecular information can also help us detect disease at an earlier stage.”

The conference will focus on the new technologies that are extracting this knowledge, as well as looking at the areas of imaging and microfluidics.

Among the key speakers are Professor Gareth Thomas and Dr Sumeet Mahajan, who bring together two University of Southampton strengths of tumour microenvironment biology and multimodal label-free imaging; and Professor Mark Cragg, who is incorporating this new information into a deeper understanding of cancer immunology to develop improved cancer immunotherapeutics.

Our external speakers include:

Professor Kevin Brindle, of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, who is developing long-lived imaging probes that will revolutionise tumour imaging;

Professor Caroline Dive, of Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, who has developed landmark patient explant models using rare circulating tumour cells from patients with small cell lung cancer that mimic the donor patients’ tumour pathology and response to chemotherapy;

Professor John Greenman, of the University of Hull, who has developed new microfluidic techniques to investigate cellular communication in tumour biopsies in real time;

Professor Valérie Taly, of the Université Paris Descartes, who is pioneering nanodrop technologies for identifying cancer biomarkers;

Professor Zoltan Takats, of Imperial College London, who invented the iKnife - an intelligent surgical knife that can immediately tell whether it is cutting through cancerous or non-cancerous tissue;

Professor Mehmet Toner, of the Massachusetts General Hospital, who has developed microfluidic devices to isolate very rare circulating tumour cells from patients.

Speakers from the University of Southampton will include Professor Tim Elliott, as well as Professor Mark CraggProfessor Christian Ottensmeier and Professor Gareth Thomas, from Medicine; Dr Sumeet Mahajan, from Chemistry; and Professor Peter Johnson, Director of Cancer Research UK Southampton.

Tim said: “We hope that the conference will bring together a group of people who are leading the way in research and practice in this field, a group of people who may not otherwise get together. We are giving them the opportunity to disseminate their discoveries and offer the very real potential for future collaboration.”

The Institute for Life Sciences conference, at the University of Southampton in September, is part of a programme of activity focusing on the development of cancer diagnosis and therapies.

A major campaign is currently underway to raise £25m to fund the UK’s first dedicated Centre for Cancer Immunology that is due to open later this year.  The University of Southampton leads the UK in cancer immunology research and its exciting discoveries are moving out of the laboratory into clinical trials, where they are already making a world of difference to people with cancer.

This cutting-edge research hub will be connected to leading institutions worldwide, enabling interdisciplinary teams to expand clinical trials, explore new areas and develop lifesaving drugs.

Located at Southampton General Hospital, the Centre for Cancer Immunology will be partnered with the Francis Crick Institute, in London – a major international biomedical discovery institute dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease.

The all-day Precision Cancer Medicine: Forefront Technologies at the Clinical Interface conference is open to academic staff and students from other institutions and is free to attend. It takes place on September 14, 2017, at Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, from 9am to 6pm. If you are interested please contact .

Attendees are invited to submit a poster and an abstract of no more than 400 words for display. The submission deadline is July 3, 2017.


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