Leicester Cancer Research Centre

Personalising mesothelioma treatment

Precision therapeutics for mesothelioma

Research theme lead: Professor Dean Fennell 

Mesothelioma is an incurable cancer caused by asbestos, an environmental contaminant, that can arise in the chest or the abdomen. Effective treatments and strategies for personalising therapy have been lacking. Our mesothelioma research programme is addressing this gap through the application of genomics and preclinical pharmacology to identify novel drug targets/biomarkers to underpin our clinical trials, with the key goal of improving clinical outcomes and changing practice. 

Professor Dean Fennell is an international leader in mesothelioma research and currently leads a portfolio of both industry and investigator-led clinical trials. These include the CRUK funded trials MESO2 (with UCL), VIM (with Cardiff University) and the phase III trial CONFIRM (with the University of Southampton). He is scientific lead for the British Lung Foundation-funded, Leicester sponsored MiST trial (with Professor Anne Thomas) to accelerate the identification of multiple personalised treatments for mesothelioma

Academic research theme members:

MEDUSA: mesothelioma evolution – Deciphering drUggable Somatic Alterations

  • Mr Apostoslos Nakas (Thoracic Surgery)
  • Dr Ed Hollox (Genetics) Professor Frank Dudbridge (Statistical Genetics)
  • Professor Catrin Pritchard (Mesothelioma Explant Pharmacology)
  • Professor George D. Jones (HR pathway mesothelioma)
  • Professor Don Jones (MHC ligandome proteomics)
  • Professor Jacqui Shaw (ctDNA mesothelioma)
  • Dr Salvador Macip (targeting 9p21 loss) 
  • Dr Cristina Tufarelli (Epigenetics)
  • Dr Amrita Bajaj (Radiology)
  • Dr Cathy Richards (Histopathology)
  • Professor John Le Quesne (Histopathology)

Mesothelioma Stratified Therapy (MiST)

  • Professor Anne Thomas 
  • Dr Margaret Hutka (peritoneal mesothelioma)
  • Professor Bruno Morgan (radiology)
  • Amy King (MIST trial management)
  • Amy Branson
  • Peter Wells-Jordan (biomarkers)
  • Aarti Gaba (histopathology)
  • Caroline Cowley (genomics)

Clinical Team

  • Liz Darlison MBE – nurse consultant
  • Dr Karen Lord – clinical nurse specialist
  • Molly Scotland –Research Nurse
  • Azmina Soda-Ramdeen - Research Nurse
  • Donna Ward - Research Nurse
  • Louise Nelson - Research Nurse

Mesothelioma Prevention

  • Professor Karen Brown

Research theme affiliates

  • Dr Sara Busacca 
  • Dr Joanna Dzialo
  • Dr Charlotte Poille 

Clinical Research Fellows (PhDs)

  • Mr Alan Dawson (neoantigen repertoire) 
  • Dr Nada Nusrat (targeting 9p21 loss)

PhD students

  • Alexandra Bzura (targeting DNA damage repair pathways) 
  • Essa Battei (targeting the Hippo pathway)
  • James Harber (Immune microenvironment and checkpoint inhibitor efficacy)
  • Lee Brannan (mesothelioma phylogenetics)

View our key recent publications

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