Leicester Cancer Research Centre


colonic cryptsResearch theme lead: Professor Karen Brown

Academic research theme members

Prevention, through the use of safe and effective therapies offers a largely untapped strategy for reducing cancer incidence. The overall aim of our Theme is the discovery and development of such therapies for the prevention of cancer in populations at increased risk, through a combination of in vitro and pre-clinical work streams, culminating in early and late phase clinical trials of the most promising agents. Emphasis is placed on dietary derived compounds and repurposed drugs with good safety profiles since our goal is to use any effective therapies in healthy people. Intrinsic to our work is the identification and development of biomarkers for monitoring efficacy in humans and personalising preventive interventions, so biomarker discovery and validation using ‘omics technologies is a central component and is supported by the Van Geest MS Omics Facility

We are one of the leading cancer prevention groups in the world, renowned for our work integrating the preclinical development and clinical evaluation of therapies for the prevention of cancer, particularly colorectal malignancies and mesothelioma. As an exemplar, we have taken resveratrol from bench to bedside, performing the first Phase 1 repeat dose trial of resveratrol as an investigational medicinal product in a dose escalation study, and a follow-up trial in colorectal cancer patients (Patel et al, 2010Brown et al, 2010). More recently, we have defined a non-linear dose response for resveratrol preventive efficacy in a mouse model of fat-promoted colorectal carcinogenesis, and in human tissues (Cai et al, 2015). Our findings challenge the traditional paradigm that ‘more is better’ when selecting doses for therapeutic prevention trials and have led us to design a colorectal polyp prevention clinical trial with resveratrol (COLO-PREVENT) which is currently in set-up.

Research affiliates

Dr Lynne Howells; Dr Raj Singh; Dr Emma Parrot; Dr Hong Cai; Dr Rob Britton; Dr Inna Gutterman; Raquel Palacios Gallego

PGR students

  • Grandezza Aburido, PhD student
  • Despoina Theofanous, PhD student
  • Shanthi Sri Undru, PhD student
  • Salima Alawkali, PhD student
  • Leanne Herbert, PhD student
  • Lynsey Burke, PhD student
  • Sarah Whelan, PhD student
  • Farah A.T. Khasawneh, MD student

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