Senior Group Leader
Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Manchester
Deputy Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute
Director Manchester Cancer Centre for Biomarker Sciences
Co-Director of the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence
Non-Clinical Lead Manchester Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre
After completing her PhD studies at the MRC Clinical Oncology and Radiotherapeutics Unit in Cambridge, Caroline moved to Aston University’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Birmingham where she started her own group studying mechanisms of drug induced tumour cell death. She then moved as a Cancer Research Campaign fellow to the Faculty of Life Sciences at The University of Manchester to continue this research. Caroline was awarded a Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine Research Fellowship before moving to the CRUK Manchester Institute in 2003. Here she set up the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology Group and began to develop biomarkers, and notably liquid biopsies to support personalised medicine interfacing with The Christie Hospital’s Phase I Clinical Trials Unit.
Caroline is currently Senior Group Leader and Deputy Director of the CRUK Manchester Institute and Professor of Cancer Pharmacology at The University of Manchester. She also co-leads the CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence and is Manchester’s non-clinical lead of their Experimental Cancer Medicines Centre.
Throughout her career, Caroline has attracted several prizes and awards, most notably she was awarded the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier International Prize in 2012 and in 2016 the AstraZeneca Prize for Women in Pharmacology. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2015), Fellow of the British Pharmacological Society (2012) and Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (2011). In 2017, Caroline was awarded Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her services to cancer research.
A challenge facing molecular profiling of PDAC and many other gastrointestinal cancers is that less than 20% of patients have disease that is able to be surgically removed and therefore tumour samples are often too small for analysis. One approach to overcome this problem is analysis of tumour-shed DNA fragments that can be found in patients’ blood (often referred to as a liquid biopsy).
Liquid biopsies offer access to a minimally invasive and routinely available biopsy with clinical potential for measuring predictive biomarkers and for the detection of resistance to treatment and diseases progression.
Caroline and colleagues have developed a sensitive panel-based Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) assay that can identify faulty genes in patient’s blood samples. Analysis of circulating DNA in PDAC blood samples will provide insights into the usefulness of liquid biopsies as a substitute for a tumour biopsy as well as identifying disease progression or resistance to treatment.