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The University of Southampton

Cancer Sciences

Cancer cell

Cancer’s devastating impact is felt around the world by millions of people and their families. Prevention, treatment and a cure are desperately needed to minimise people’s suffering. At the University of Southampton, we have a strong and successful history in cancer research, from diagnosis to improving treatment and generating potential vaccines.

The Faculty of Medicine is uniquely placed to bring together world-leading expertise across many areas of cancer research and translate basic scientific discoveries into impactful treatments in patient clinics.

In 2018 we opened the UK’s first Centre for Cancer Immunology where globally-recognised researchers are expanding clinical trials and developing more lifesaving drugs in the exciting and promising area of cancer immunology research. The purpose-built facility has allowed the Faculty to expand our research capacity and accelerate our translation of immunotherapy to patients. The Centre boasts state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, housing more than 200 scientists, clinical teams and support staff.

The Centre builds on our excellent existing research infrastructure that includes the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Centre, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre, the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit, the NIHR Clinical Research Facility, and the Wessex Investigational Science Hub. Southampton also hosts a Bloodwise centre of excellence in understanding and treating lymphoid malignancies.

By being located on the same site as Southampton General Hospital, the South coast’s major tertiary referral cancer hospital, means many of our researchers work clinically. The close relationship allows access to cancer patient-level data and biospecimens resulting in a smooth research process. We have a long-standing investment in surgical oncology and are supported by an HTA accredited tissue bank.

The CRUK Centre has an outstanding international reputation for quality research in the treatment of lymphoma, immunotherapy, and upper gastrointestinal surgery. The Centre has significant collaborations with biotech and the pharmaceutical industry to support translation into clinical testing from laboratory programmes. Ten novel biotherapeutics have moved from the laboratory programmes of the centre to exploratory clinical studies, either directly or in partnership with biotech companies.

We are proud of our broad interdisciplinary collaborations across the University and with other institutions in structural biology, chemistry, glycobiology, microfluidics, immunopeptidomics, mathematics and computing to address the most challenging cancer questions. For example, how to understand the immunopeptidome of solid tumours using mass spectrometry and how to define tumour ecosystems with unique microfluidic solutions.

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