Our research in Newcastle

Newcastle is home to the Cancer Research UK Newcastle Centre, delivering world-leading research that accelerates the transition of lab-based discovery to the clinic for the benefit of people affected by cancer. 

Last year, we spent nearly £5m on research in Newcastle. Collaboration is key to the centre’s work. By sharing their expertise, scientists, doctors and nurses are improving the care of patients across Newcastle and beyond.


Finding personalised treatments for children with medulloblastoma

Professor Steve Clifford

Professor Steve Clifford’s team is looking at whether biomarkers – or ‘molecular fingerprints’ - in tumour samples could help determine what kind of treatment a patient should have.

Professor Ruth Plummer is taking new drugs from the lab to the clinic

Professor Ruth Plummer

Professor Ruth Plummer is leading exciting early-phase clinical trials to test brand-new cancer drugs in patients for the first time.

Taking inspiration from nature to trap cancer cells

cancer cells

Dr Daniel Frankel is looking to the naked mole-rat, an animal that almost never gets cancer, for inspiration to improve surgery to remove sarcomas.

What we're doing now

The dedicated team at our Cancer Research UK Newcastle Centre are experts in a wide range of disciplines including clinical trials, drug discovery and radiotherapy. Our researchers are focussing on brain, blood, liver, bowel, and children’s cancers.

Professor Helen Reeves is leading a multidisciplinary team of experts who are studying the complex interaction between liver cancer and the immune system in the hope of making immunotherapy treatments more effective for people with liver cancer. The team want to understand the way cancer cells are able to ‘switch off’ immune cells by putting them into a sleep-like state in some people. Professor Reeves hopes to find a way to switch the immune system back on in these people, making immunotherapy an effective option for all patients.


Newcastle University is also an academic partner of Cancer Research Horizons, working together to translate discoveries from basic and clinical research into new breakthrough drugs. And our Senior Research Nurse in Newcastle facilitates the delivery of high-quality clinical trials and studies, getting new treatments into the clinic sooner.

The Newcastle Adult and Paediatric Experimental Cancer Medicine Centres (ECMC) are a unique partnership between CRUK and the National Institute for Health Research in England to bring together lab scientists and cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas and new treatments from the lab to the clinic.


How we’ve made a difference so far

Scientists in Newcastle helped make the pioneering discovery that aspirin could potentially help prevent bowel cancer in people with Lynch syndrome. People affected by this disease have inherited a faulty version of a gene, which increases their chances of developing certain cancers, particularly bowel cancer. Professor Sir John Burn is now leading a clinical trial to find out what is the best dose of aspirin to prevent as many cases of cancer as possible, while minimising side effects. This trial could change the way this disease is managed and help us understand more about the role of aspirin in preventing cancer.


Work in Newcastle led to the development of drugs called PARP inhibitors – drugs designed to target the genetic ‘Achilles’ heel’ in cancers caused by faults in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. This research led to the development of the drug, rucaparib, which is now an approved standard treatment for some women with ovarian cancer caused by faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.


We are working in partnership with the Newcastle University Centre for CancerNewcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Children's Cancer North and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to help patients within the city, across the UK and around the world.


In Newcastle

  • 4,500 people are diagnosed with cancer each year.
  • 52% of cancers are diagnosed early.
  • We spent nearly £5m on life-saving research in 2020/21.

We receive no government funding for our research. Our life-saving work relies on the money you give us.

Cancer news

Cancer cells

From cutting edge science and debunking myths to patient stories, read the latest news, analysis and opinion on our news site.

Our strategy to beat cancer

Male scientist with gloves on

For the past 120 years, we’ve been making discoveries that have saved countless lives. But we have so much more to do. Our strategy sets out how we'll accelerate progress towards a better future.