Dr Seth Coffelt awarded BACR-AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award 2018

12th November 2018

Many congratulations to Seth, who has been awarded the BACR-AstraZeneca Young Scientist Frank Rose Award 2018! The purpose of the award is to recognise and reward the achievements of an individual whose work has made significant contributions to translational cancer research. To mark the award, Seth gave a talk at the NCRI conference, which was held in Glasgow earlier this month. Click here to visit Seth's research page.


Dr Seth Coffelt stands up to cancer

25th October 2018

Dr Seth Coffelt of the Beatson Institute met with 28-year-old Rebecca Scott, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year. Thankfully, following surgery and hormone treatment, she is now doing well. Seth gave Rebecca a tour of the  Institute and showed her the research his lab is doing to understand ovarian cancer. See this article in the Glasgow Evening Times to read more about Rebecca's story.

 Photo credit Steve Welsh
Above: Seth and Rebecca at the Beatson Institute. Photo credit: Steve Welsh

ACRCelerate: Colorectal Cancer Stratified Medicine Network

12th October 2018

Six international collaborations aimed at accelerating translational research have been awarded a total of £30m, CRUK has announced. One of the projects - named ACRCelerate - will be led by Owen Sansom here at the Beatson Institute and aims to pave the way for personalised bowel cancer treatment.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) remains the second most common cause of cancer death, and patients with stage 4 cancers at diagnosis have less than a 10% survival rate at 5 years1. This is mainly due to the ineffectiveness of current chemotherapy treatments for late-stage and advanced metastatic disease. Furthermore, despite advances in our understanding of the biology of these tumours, there have been disappointingly few advances in CRC therapy in the last 20 years. Recent work has highlighted the importance of the chemical messages that arise from cells that support the tumour (tumour microenvironment), yet current therapies predominantly only target the dividing tumour cells themselves. Thus there is an urgent need for novel chemotherapeutic treatments in CRC, including those that can harness and manipulate the power of the cancer microenvironment.

The ACRCelerate project will bring together a European-wide consortium of basic and clinical scientists at the forefront of CRC research to interrogate a suite of state-of-the art preclinical models. The overarching aim of ACRCelerate is to generate robust and reproducible preclinical data to de-risk future clinical trials via patient stratification. Specifically, the various models will be categorised into subtypes based on their gene activity so that treatments can be aimed at particular subgroups of patients. In doing so, the network will be able to accelerate the next generation of stratified trials for CRC through accurate disease subtype positioning. Using this preclinical testing platform, the consortium aims to accelerate the identification and development of new drugs for CRC.

Intestinal crypt

Other institutions that will be involved in the project include the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, the Universities of Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh, Queen's University Belfast, the Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment at Candiolo, the Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Instituto de Recerca Biomédica.

Also see the press release from Cancer Research UK.


1. Cancer Research UK, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/bowel-cancer/survival#heading-Three, Accessed 21st September 2018.

TGFβ inhibitors as potential treatment for acute liver injury

17th August 2018

Dr Tom Bird has published a study showing that a cancer drug is able to prevent the spread of senescence in a mouse model of acute liver injury. The drug could potentially be used as an alternative to liver transplantation for patients with sudden liver failure. The option of such a medication-based treatment instead of transplantation would improve the lives of patients and also reduce the demand for livers for transplantation.

Tom states 'While transplant offers incredible life-saving opportunities for these patients, it does mean a major operation and a lifetime of medication and with around 300 adults and children in the UK in need of a liver transplant at any one time, it cannot be guaranteed.'

The work was published in Science Translational Medicine:

TGFbeta inhibitors paper

Reference: Bird et al. TGFβ inhibition restores a regenerative response in acute liver injury by suppressing paracrine senescence. Sci Transl Med. 2018 Aug 15;10(454). pii: eaan1230. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan1230

The study was covered by numerous media outlets, including BBC News (Liver transplants 'may be unnecessary thanks to new drug treatment'), The Scotsman (New drug treatment could reduce liver transplants) and BBC Radio 4's flagship news and current affairs programme, Today (click image below to hear the interview). The article was also highlighted in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology  (Senescence prevents regeneration after acute liver injury).

Tom Bird Today programme Aug 2018

Existing treatment could be used for 'untreatable' type of lung cancer

21st June 2018

Dr Daniel Murphy and others at the Institute have published findings in Science Translational Medicine showing that a treatment that is already approved in certain types of cancer could also be used in another type of lung cancer (KRAS-driven lung cancer) for which there is currently no specific treatment. The fact that it is already approved for use in other cancers means that it could be available for patients with KRAS-driven lung cancer much sooner than it otherwise would be.

Daniel said 'There is a pressing need to develop alternative strategies for more effective treatment of KRAS‐driven lung cancer, and this is a promising breakthrough which we hope could benefit patients soon.

'The inhibitor we studied – a multi-ERBB inhibitor – helped sensitise tumours and was of therapeutic benefit when used in combination with another cancer drug called Trametinib, resulting in a clear extension of lifespan.

'Based on our findings, we hope lung cancer patients with the KRAS-driven form of lung cancer may in future benefit from inclusion of this inhibitor in their treatment plan.'

Click here to view the article.


New research group joins the Beatson

We were delighted to welcome new senior group leader Martin Bushell and his team to the Institute this month. Martin and his group are studying the fundamental processes underlying protein synthesis in cells and how these are altered in tumours. A better understanding of how these processes work could lead to new treatments for cancer.

More details of Martin's research can be found here.


At the bench 3 160

Read more about the Research Groups working at the Beatson Institute.



Running a gel 154

Find out more about our seminars including our Distinguished Seminar Programme.