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The University of Southampton

Cancer expert appointed chief clinician of Cancer Research UK

Published: 4 October 2007

Cancer Research UK has appointed leading cancer researcher Professor Peter Johnson as its first Chief Clinician.

Professor Johnson is currently the charity's Chair of Medical Oncology and Director of the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre in Southampton, based at the University of Southampton.

His research is focused on how the immune system deals with cancer and how a person's own defence system can be re-targeted to allow it to attack cancerous cells. The Southampton group is developing a number of anti-cancer therapeutic antibodies and vaccines - including potential treatments for prostate cancer. He is also a leading expert in lymphoma - a cancer of the body's lymphatic system.

Professor Johnson's work has been funded by Cancer Research UK for over 15 years.

He will join the charity on a part-time basis, enabling him to continue his existing clinical research.

Professor Johnson said: "This is a very exciting time to be in cancer medicine. We have seen a rapid acceleration in our understanding of what makes cancer develop and how the body responds to it, which has given us a wealth of new treatments to use in the clinic. Translating the discoveries of basic science into medicines that can prolong or save a person's life is incredibly challenging and rewarding.

"This new role at Cancer Research UK offers a unique opportunity to help shape our clinical research, and to make sure that we bring the best young doctors into this field for the future: there has never been a better time to do this."

Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "Professor Johnson is at the top of his field and an eminent cancer clinician. He will bring a new vision and leadership to the charity's clinical work, which will allow us to accelerate our already ambitious goals of diagnosing and treating cancer faster and more effectively. And he will ensure our clinical plans and developments are ambitious through his extensive medical research experience."

Professor Johnson will formally take up the new post of Chief Clinician at Cancer Research UK in January 2008. He will be a member of both the charity's Executive and Scientific Executive Boards.

Related Staff Member

Notes for editors

  1. Professor Peter Johnson
    Peter Johnson trained in medicine at Cambridge and St Thomas's Hospital, London. He first joined the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) as a Clinical Research Fellow at St Bartholomew's Hospital, and was a Senior Lecturer at the ICRF Centre in Leeds. He took up the Cancer Research Campaign (CRC) Chair of Medical Oncology at the University of Southampton in 1998. His research interests are in lymphoma and immunotherapy, specifically the use of antibodies to direct the immune response to tumours. He is the Chair of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Lymphoma Clinical Studies Group and of the Cancer Research UK Feasibility Studies Committee.
  2. Cancer Research UK
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer. 
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK's work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit

University of Southampton
The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. It is one of the UK's top 10 research universities, offering first-rate opportunities and facilities for study and research across a wide range of subjects in health, humanities, science and engineering. The University has around 20,000 students and over 5000 staff. Its annual turnover is in the region of £310 million.

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