Translational Cancer Research Prize
This prize recognised the cutting-edge breakthroughs of outstanding research teams that united in the quest to ensure scientific discoveries benefit patients and the public.
Winners of the Translational Cancer Research Prize
Tumour Heterogeneity Team
Title: 2017 winners
Led by: Professor Charles Swanton (UCL and The Francis Crick Institute)
Team: Full team
The work of the Tumour Heterogeneity Team incorporates the TRACERx Lung Study and associated research including the TRACERx Renal Study, PEACE (posthumous tissue donation in cancer) study, and a circulating tumour cell programme.
The team aim to understand genomic complexity and heterogeneity in solid tumours, and to track tumour evolution through time and treatment. This year, the group was able to integrate their findings with large-scale clinical collaborative efforts, to identify how heterogeneity can be overcome effectively to design new strategies for targeted and immunotherapeutic approaches.
The panel were particularly impressed by publications characterising the interaction between immune and cancer cells during lung cancer development and in response to therapeutic intervention, and demonstrating the negative impact of intra-tumour heterogeneity in response to checkpoint inhibitors in lung cancer and melanoma. The work has important implications for therapeutic strategies, and is helping to focus efforts to develop therapies. The group's work serves as an excellent model for effective team science, fostering multidisciplinary collaboration between basic scientists and clinical researchers to achieve outstanding impact.
EBV Vaccine Team
Title: 2015 winners
Led by Professor Alan Rickinson
University of Birmingham
With Dr Graham Taylor, Dr Neil Steven, Dr Ceri Edwards and Dr Lesley McGuigan
The 2015 Translational Cancer Research Prize was awarded to the outstanding multidisciplinary team behind the therapeutic vaccine for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated cancers. EBV is a major health burden, known to be associated with over 200,000 cases of cancer worldwide each year. However, EBV-associated cancers express viral proteins, making them a promising target for immunotherapies. The EBV-vaccine team designed a candidate therapeutic cancer vaccine which has shown clinical activity in early phase trials.
The team's achievements navigating the difficult pathway from basic virology and immunology research to a currently active phase 2 trial span several decades. Professor Alan Rickinson has been a leader in the field since the 1970s, and foundations for the current vaccine’s development were laid when Rickinson and colleagues characterised the viral proteins present in cells transformed with EBV, and the T-cell response to these proteins. Work by Dr Graham Taylor in 2000-2004 led to the design and production of the candidate therapeutic cancer vaccine. Development of the vaccine was taken on by the Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development, and phase 1 trials were initiated by Dr Neil Steven, leading to phase 1B and 2 trials in 2014.
In addition to the outstanding science underpinning the EBV vaccine, and the potential for substantial impact for patients, the Prizes Committee commended the team for their innovations in clinical trials management. The CRUK Centre for Drug Development and the Clinical Trials Unit at Birmingham successfully steered the project through several difficulties, and significantly reduced recruitment time, setting a new standard for future clinical trials.
IBIS Trials Team
Title: 2014 winners
Led by: Professor Jack Cuzick (Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine, Queen Mary University of London)
Jill Knox (Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine)
Roseann Kealy (Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine)
Dr Ivana Sestak (Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine)
Professor Mitch Dowsett (The Royal Marsden)
Professor Trevor Powles (The Royal Marsden)
Professor Glen Blake (Kings College London)
Dr Jane Warwick (Imperial College London)
Professor Richard Eastell (Northern General Hospital, Sheffield)
Professor Lesley Fallowfield (University of Sussex)
Professor Tony Howell (University of Manchester)
Ruth Warren (Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge)
Professor John Forbes (University of Newcastle, Australia)
Title: 2013 Winners
Led by: Professor Paul Workman (The Institute of Cancer Research, London) and Professor Laurence Pearl (University of Sussex)
Dr Wynne Aherne
Dr Udai Banerji
Dr Paul Clarke
Dr Ian Collins
Professor Johann de Bono
Dr Suzanne Eccles
Professor Keith Jones
Professor Ian Judson
Dr Edward McDonald
Dr Florence Raynaud
Dr Chrisostomos Prodromou
Dr Mark Roe
Manchester Biomarker Team
Title: 2011 winners
Led by: Professor Caroline Dive (Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute)
Team: Professor Malcolm Ranson, Dr Fiona Blackhall and Professor Andrew Hughes
Newcastle PARP Team
Title: 2010 winners
Led by: Professor Ruth Plummer (Newcastle University)
Team: Professor Barbara Durkacz, Professor Roger Griffin, Professor Herbie Newell, Professor Nicola Curtin, Professor Hilary Calvert and Professor Bernard Golding