Sheffield Cancer Research Centre Newsletter

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Sheffield Cancer Research Centre Newsletter

Issue 3 – July 2013

Welcome to the SCRC Newsletter

The newsletter is for sharing information on activities and developments. There are sections on news; awards, achievements; and events. We hope you find the newsletter informative and useful. If you have any information or news you would like to share with colleagues in the Centre then please contact Lance Burn ( or Deborah Reid (

Race for Life

CR-UK/YCR Sheffield Cancer Research Centre Runners turn Meadowhall pink

Centre Research staff were out in force as the Sheffield Race For Life turned Meadowhall shopping centre into a sea of pink. Professor Nicola Brown took to the stage to speak to the 4000 runners, explaining her work, highlighting other leading research projects at the Centre and thanking  the crowd for the hundreds of thousands of pounds they will raise to fund vital research work. Nicola then joined a 35 strong team of Centre staff and their families and friends to take part in the 5km event. The team have already raised almost £2000 and if anyone would like to help them hit the target they can donate at Thanks to everyone who took part and everyone who has sponsored them.

After the Race, the Centre’s three charity partners - Cancer Research UK, Yorkshire Cancer Research and  Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity – put on interactive stands inside Meadowhall, engaging supporters with strawberry DNA extraction and sweet modelling of virus molecules.    

South Asian women should no longer be considered at low risk of breast cancer

Researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered a significant increase in breast cancer cases in South Asian women – a group who were previously considered at lower risk.

Experts from the University's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health examined breast cancer rates in the South Asian population in Leicester. Previous studies in the UK have found that incidence of breast cancer is lower in the South Asian population compared to other groups.

Breast cancer data from the National Cancer Registration Service and 2001 census were used to calculate rates of the condition over a 10 year period between 2000 and 2009. Trends were compared between South Asian women and other ethnicities between socioeconomic groups.

Between 2000-2004, South Asian women were found to have a 45 per cent lower rate of breast cancer compared to white women – as found in previous studies.

However, by the 2005-2009 period rates of breast cancer among South Asian women had increased significantly and was eight per cent higher than white women, whose rates had not changed over the study period.

Radiology technician examines mammography test.

In South Asian women over the age of 65 years, this change was statistically significant with a 37 per cent higher risk of breast cancer than white women.

For all ethnicities combined, rates of breast cancer did not change with socioeconomic deprivation in 2000-2004, but in 2005-2009 it increased with socioeconomic deprivation, contrary to national trends.

Lead study author Matthew Day, Honorary Lecturer in ScHARR, said: “Historically South Asian women, and women in lower socioeconomic groups, have been considered at lower risk of developing breast cancer. Based on our study in Leicester, this should no longer be considered the case."

He added: “The exact causes behind this change are not clear cut, they could relate to increases in screening uptake among these groups of women, which have in the past been shown to be lower than in other groups. Or they could be due to changes in lifestyle factors, like having fewer children and having them later in life, increased use of oral contraceptives, and increased smoking and alcohol intake – factors linked to increased breast cancer risk across the board.”

Dr Mick Peake, Clinical Lead at Public Health England’s National Cancer Intelligence Network, said: “The results of the Leicester study should assist public health services to both plan for, and respond to, the changing risk profile of breast cancer in the population, particularly with regards Asian women who for a long time have been another group whose attendance rate for screening has been low.

At the individual level, if women are concerned about breast cancer, they should speak to their GP.”

Medical School Research Meeting.

Prize Winners

Many thanks to all who participated in and all who helped prepare for the 9th Annual Medical School Research Meeting. It was a very successful two days of events with lots of interesting talks.

Congratulations to the following prize winners:


1st Place – Paul Collini, Department of Infection & Immunity

2nd Place – Caroline Gray, Department of Cardiovascular Science

3rd Place – Ryan Beveridge, Department of Oncology


1st Place – Sarah-Jane Lunt, Department of Oncology

2nd Place – Andriy Samokhin, Department of Cardiovascular Science

Congratulations to the winners and well done to everyone who presented their research as either an oral or poster presentation.

British Association for Cancer Research

Graduate Students Special Offer - from 1st May 2013 to 30th April 2014 - Join the BACR for free!

BACR Membership entitles you to:

  • Attend BACR Special Conferences and Workshops at a reduced rate which will enable you to network and establish collaborations with leaders in cancer research from both academia and industry. Present original clinical and experimental data and compete for poster/presentation prizes.

  • Receive twice yearly newsletters and access an interactive website for up-to-date information on activities with email alerts advising you of job vacancies, meetings and deadlines.

  • Automatically become a free member of the European Association for Cancer Research

After your first year as a BACR member you will have to pay a fee of £25 p.a. but this is really good value because you become eligible for financial assistance to broaden your horizons by attending international and national cancer research meetings.

  • After your first (free) year as a BACR member you can apply for a Student Travel Award of up to £1000 to cover attendance at a Cancer Research meeting where you have submitted an abstract and will present your work. You can apply for up to 2 bursaries whilst being a student (one meeting must be in the UK).

So... don’t hide away in your lab! Get out and about and get networked! Get funding to make your mark at conferences and make connections to further your cancer research careers! The BACR has a long tradition of nurturing graduate student members. We listen to what you need and have a student representative on our Executive Committee. We have a Facebook Group just for BACR students so that you can network with fellow student around the country.

Join BACR today!

Diary Dates

Seminar Series – for information, please see:
5th July 2013 – ‘Translational Cancer Research – from Lab to Clinic’ - Sheffield - Leeds - Leicester Tri-Centre Workshop – This workshop is to be held at The Ridge, Ranmoor Student Village, Sheffield from 10.00am to 16.30pm.

There will be the opportunity to take part in one to one discussions with colleagues from the Pharmaceutical Industry, CR-UK DDO and YCR – please contact for further information.


1. Educate clinicians and scientists on how to translate laboratory discoveries into the clinic.

2. Showcase Centre / ECMC successes to invited stakeholders (Industry, NCRN, CR-UK, YCR).

3. Share best practice and develop collaborative links.

Workshop Agenda:

Case studies – from lab to clinic

Chair: Penella Woll

Aurora kinase inhibitors - Alan Anthoney (Leeds)

Polyphenolic phytochemicals in chemoprevention and therapy - Will Steward (Leicester)

RANKL inhibitors - Rob Coleman (Sheffield)


Chair: Rob Coleman

Cancer Research UK’s Drug Development Office: – the ‘Whats’ the ‘Whys’ and the ‘Hows’ - Nigel Blackburn (CR-UK)

Pharma-Academia Clinical Partnerships: Working Together to Develop New Cancer Drugs - Valerie Baker (AstraZeneca)

Personalised Medicine: The Challenges of Translating Biomarkers into Clinical Diagnostics - Jill Walker (AstraZeneca)

Early phase trials

Chair: Chris Twelves

Setting up a phase I unit: The Leicester Experience - Anne Thomas (Leicester)

Developing your early phase research: the role of a Clinical Trials Unit - Sarah Brown (Leeds)

The role of the consumer in early phase trial set-up. What is a consumer? - David Ardron (Sheffield)

Biomarkers – from lab to clinic

Chair: Will Steward

Delivering proteomic biomarkers to the clinic - Naveen Vasudev (Leeds)

Plasma DNA as a biomarker for cancer - Jacqui Shaw (Leicester)

Dynamic Nuclear Polarisation: A radical new MRI contrast enhancement method on the verge of translation to the clinic - Martyn Paley (Sheffield)

The event is free to attend thanks to the generous support of InKForge:

The Faculty of Medicine Dentistry and Health has launched the Industrial Knowledge Forge (InKForge), aimed at embedding industrial career development training for researchers at the University of Sheffield by developing close links with industrial partners.

Registration can be made at
26th July 2013 - CR-UK/YCR Sheffield Cancer Research Centre’s Summer Barbecue – The Oncology and Cancer Research Centre Summer BBQ tickets are now available priced £5.00 for adults and £2.50 for children ten and under, babies – no charge. This is open to all staff/students involved with the Sheffield Cancer Research Centre as well as family and friends. So bring the kids and meet the rest of the Sheffield Cancer Research Centre community. The venue is Dam House, just off Mushroom Lane in Crooks Valley Park

The party starts at 4:30 pm with a kids disco and bouncy castle followed by a barbecue from 5:30-7:00.

There will be Halal and Vegetarian options available and a hog roast which is pretty much the other end of the spectrum. Dam house BBQ comprises Burgers, Hot Dogs, Chicken Skewers, Vegetable Skewers, Chips, Salad, Coleslaw. A selection of desserts including Cheesecakes, Cakes, Gateaux and Profiteroles

We will have a band playing between 7:00 and 9:pm with a light snack/nibbles to keep you going around 9:00. The band is the Seven Tors and you can listen to them here There will be a disco until late after that.

Optional dress code of American tourist in Hawaii with prizes for best/worst dressed tourist

Tickets are now on sale from:

  • Medical School G Floor Rachel Doherty - GU02

  • Medical School F Floor Toby Holmes - FU32

  • Medical School E Floor Rachel Daniel - EU25

  • MBB Firth Court Sally Thomas - D43

  • Weston Park Hospital Anne Cockhill & Julie Vickers

You should not have to look far to get a ticket and they will be available until the 12th of July. Please print your name on the back of the ticket stubs and make you food choice clear. Dam house will do their best to assist requests that are made in advance but please make them via Toby Holmes (

Requests have been made to the relevant authorities for excellent weather and we hope to see you all at Dam House on the last Friday in July.

13th September 2013 - Sheffield Neuro-Oncology Workshop - 13:00 - 17:00 (lunch will be provided) -

Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience, 385A Glossop Road, S10 2HQ

The CR-UK/YCR Sheffield Cancer Research Centre is currently defining a neuro-oncology research strategy and sees this as an important future strategic growth area. As part of our future strategy and within our CR-UK Centre application and YCR Endowment spending plans we have proposed:

1. A potential senior academic appointment in neuro-oncology

2. A potential 3 year post-doctoral fellowship in neuro-oncology

3. 2 research PAs in neuro-oncology

4. Fully-funded biobanking of brain tumours, body fluids and patient data

5. Pump-prime funding opportunities

6. Well-funded clinical and non-clinical PhD studentships

7. Funding for ACF, Academic F2 and BMedSci projects

8. CR-UK Strategic Funding call available from September 2014

You can register for this event at: (

If you have any thoughts or comments to make on this subject please get in touch with Lance Burn ( before the event so that your ideas can be incorporated.
11th October 2013 - SCRC - INSIGNEO Workshop – This workshop is to be held at The Edge from 10.00am to 17.00pm (details to follow). Please save the date:
28th February 2014 – Annual Cancer Research Forum please save the date, details to follow.
External Events

4th July 2013 - Academy of Medical Sciences Run Workshop - Want to present your research and ideas effectively in front of an audience or funding panel? Want to get better at balancing your clinical and academic responsibilities? Do you need to take a step back and remind yourself what you want from your career? The workshop is especially aimed at postdoctoral researchers. Places are free. For more information and o book, please contact: Selda Boztepe, Programme Officer, Academy of Medical Sciences, or 020 3176 2162.

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