Principal Investigator:

Prof. Alan Rickinson (University of Birmingham)


Dr Cliona Rooney (Baylor College of Medicine)
Dr Steve Gottschalk (Baylor College of Medicine)
Prof. Hans Clevers (Hubrecht Institute)
Prof. Andreas Strasser (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute)
Dr Paul Lieberman (Wistar Institute)
Prof. Dr Ugur Sahin (TRON Translational Cancer Center)
Dr Christian Munz (University of Zurich)
Prof. Masashi Fukayama (University of Tokyo)
Prof. Anthony Clan (Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Dr Jeff Cohen (National Institutes of Health)
Prof. Paul Lehner (University of Cambridge)
Patient Representative:

To be confirmed


Grand Challenge Two is to eradicate the 200,000 cases of cancer that occur every year worldwide because of infection with the Epstein Barr virus (EBV). Professor Alan Rickinson and his team are proposing to attack EBV cancers on two fronts: transforming treatment for patients with existing cancers and, in future, protecting people from ever catching the virus. 

Rickinson’s own group have been at the forefront of EBV research for several decades and recently received Cancer Research UK’s Translational Cancer Research Prize for their efforts that culminated in the first therapeutic vaccine for EBV-related cancers to reach the clinic.

A Grand Challenge award would build on this, bringing together for the first time a stellar team of cell biologists, virologists, immunologists and clinical investigators to further develop emerging treatments, to devise entirely new therapeutic approaches and to work towards a vaccine that will rid the world of EBV cancers by preventing infection with the virus.

The Grand Challenge is a huge opportunity for our newly-assembled global team. Such support would take research on EBV to a new level and make possible the goal of eliminating the many cancers linked to this virus

Professor Alan Rickinson, Birmingham University

This team is ambitious and bold. Their integrated approach brings together a wide range of expertise and technology to take on the tough challenge of eradicating EBV induced cancer.

Dr Chris Wild, Director of IARC

I particularly welcome Professor Rickinson’s Challenge to develop a vaccine that can be used both as a treatment and a preventive measure for EBV. This research could also have a knock on effect giving support to the development of vaccines for other types of cancer.

Terry Kavanagh, Grand Challenge Patient Advisory Panel

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