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The John van Geest Cancer Research Centre

The John van Geest Cancer Research Centre is a unique, purpose-built scientific facility in the East Midlands focusing on cancer research into diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.

The Centre has a strong research base that investigates disease processes with regards to cancer’s molecular heterogeneity, the architecture of the tumour microenvironment and the identification of biomarkers associated with therapeutic success and failure.​

The Centre aligns with the Health and Wellbeing strategic theme at NTU and the Centre for Systems, Health and integrated Metabolic Research and sits in the School of Science and Technology.

Our mission

A diagram of three points following an upwards arrow, from the lab to a DNA helix, to a stethoscope.

We work globally to ensure that benefit is delivered to patients with cancer and to the broader society.

Our vision is to work collaboratively to improve health and wellbeing through fundamental and translational research into the molecular basis of cancer heterogeneity and tumour-host interactions. We are keen to understand how these pathways can be targeted to yield better outcomes for many patients with cancer (personalised oncology), while also avoiding toxicities in individuals who are unlikely to respond to conventional, non-individualised anti-cancer treatments.

To address challenges and unmet clinical needs in the cancer field, we are implementing and testing transformative therapeutic approaches, including antibody-based treatments and anti-tumour vaccination, that are tailored to specific, molecularly-defined patient subgroups.

We aim to save lives and speed recovery by improving the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Our mission is to turn biomedical discovery into health and benefit for patients via the following roadmap:

  1. Computationally and technology fuelled investigation of the molecular heterogeneity of cancer
  2. Identification of patient-specific cancer cell vulnerabilities and actionable targets
  3. Translation into clinical benefit (precision oncology)

How you can help

Our work is entirely dependent on the generous donations from our alumni and supporters. Find out more about the breakthroughs our researchers have achieved, inspiring stories from our donors, sign up to our newsletter – and together let’s fight back against cancer.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

In the REF 2021 announcement, 86% of our research impact was deemed to be either of 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent' quality. Research submitted by the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre was included in the REF 2021 submission.

Researchers and facilities

The Centre Director is NTU Professor of Cancer and Immunotherapy Sergio Rutella. Our research at the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre wouldn't be possible without a collaboration with NTU's academics and facilities, as well as local, national, and global communities dedicated to making a real difference in cancer research.

We collaborate with academics and commercial partners across the UK, Europe and USA, as well as with other departments at NTU (Biosciences, Psychology, Sports Science). ​

In addition to our local collaborations, we also have active collaborations in countries world-wide including Germany, Norway and the USA.​ Some examples include:​

  • Division of Oncology, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, USA​
  • Department of Internal Medicine II and Institute of Immunology, University of Dresden, Germany​
  • Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, USA​
  • MacroGenics Inc, Rockville, USA​
  • NanoString Technologies Inc, Seattle, USA​
  • Kura Oncology, San Diego, USA​
  • Scancell Ltd, Nottingham​
  • Ultimovacs AS, Norway​
  • UCB Pharma, UK​
  • Intelligent OMICS, UK

The John van Geest Cancer Research Centre has a comprehensive research infrastructure and is equipped with the following platform technologies:​

  • NanoString nCounter XT​
  • NanoString GeoMx Digital Spatial Profiler​
  • MoFlo XDP Cell Sorter​
  • Gallios Flow Cytometer​
  • Gel Doc- Syngene Gbox Imager​
  • PALM Microbeam Laser Capture Microdissector​
  • 2 x Sciex Triple TOF instruments utilizing SWATH for quantitation​
  • Bruker UltrafleXtreme MALDI-TOF​
  • Bio-Plex Multiplex Immunoassay System​
  • xCelligence RTCA DP real-time cell analyser
  • Cytek Aurora Spectral Flow Cytometer

Discover our dedicated facilities and world-leading platform technologies in more detail.

Cristina Montiel-Duarte:

1) Dous, Y., Surani, A.A., Navarro-Corcuera, A., McArdle, S., Billett, E.E., and Montiel-Duarte, C., 2019. SP1 and RARalpha regulate AGAP2 expression in cancer. Scientific Reports, 9 (1), 390-x.

2) Navarro-Corcuera, A., Lopez-Zabalza, M.J., Martinez-Irujo, J.J., Alvarez-Sola, G., Avila, M.A., Iraburu, M.J., Ansorena, E., and Montiel-Duarte, C., 2019. Role of AGAP2 in the profibrogenic effects induced by TGFbeta in LX-2 hepatic stellate cells. Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta.Molecular Cell Research, 1866 (4), 673-685.

3) Chan, C.M., Fulton, J., Montiel, C., Collins, H.M., Bharti, N., Wadelin, F.R., Moran, P.M., Mongan, N.P., and Heery, D.M., 2013. A signature motif mediating selective interactions of BCL11A with the NR2E/F subfamily of orphan nuclear receptors. Nucleic Acids Research, 41 (21), 9663-9679.

4) Montiel-Duarte, C., Cordeu, L., Agirre, X., Roman-Gomez, J., Jimenez-Velasco, A., Jose-Eneriz, E.S., Garate, L., Andreu, E.J., Calasanz, M.J., Heiniger, A., Torres, A., and Prosper, F., 2008. Resistance to Imatinib Mesylate-induced apoptosis in acute lymphoblastic leukemia is associated with PTEN down-regulation due to promoter hypermethylation. Leukemia Research, 32 (5), 709-716.

Dr. Amanda Coutts

1. Coutts AS, Munro S, La Thangue NB. Functional interplay between E2F7 and ribosomal rRNA gene transcription regulates protein synthesis. Cell Death Dis, 9: 577, 2018.

2.   Coutts AS, La Thangue NB. Actin nucleation and autophagosome formation. Cell Mol Life Sci, 73:3249-63, 2016.

3.   Coutts AS, La Thangue NB. Actin nucleation by WH2 domains at the autophagosome. Nat Commun, 6: 2015. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms8888.

4.   Maniam S, Coutts AS, Stratford MR, McGouran J, Kessler B, La Thangue NB. Cofactor Strap regulates oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial p53 activity through ATP synthase. Cell Death Differ, 22:156-163, 2015.

Professor Sergio Rutella:

1.   Uy GL, Aldoss I, Foster MC, Sayre PH, Wieduwilt MJ, Advani AS, Godwin JE, Arellano ML, Sweet KL, Emadi A, Ravandi F, Erba HP, Byrne M, Michaelis LC, Topp MS, Vey N, Ciceri F, Carrabba MG, Paolini S, Huls GA, Jongen-Lavrencic M, Wermke M, Chevallier P, Gyan E, Recher C, Stiff PJ, Pettit KM, Löwenberg B, Church SE, Anderson E, Vadakekolathu J, Santaguida MT, Rettig MP, Muth J, Curtis T, Fehr E, Guo K, Zhao J, Bakkacha O, Jacobs K, Tran K, Kaminker P, Kostova M, Bonvini E, Walter RB, Davidson-Moncada JK, Rutella S, DiPersio JF. Flotetuzumab as salvage immunotherapy for refractory acute myeloid leukemia. Blood 2021; 137 (6): 751–62. DOI: 10.1182/blood.2020007732.

2.   Vadakekolathu J, Minden MD, Hood T, Church SE, Reeder S, Altmann H, Sullivan A, Viboch E, Patel T, Ibrahimova N, Warren SE, Arruda A, Liang Y, Smith TH, Foulds GA, Bailey MD, Gowen-MacDonald J, Muth J, Schmitz M, Cesano A, Pockley AG, Valk PJM, Löwenberg B, Bornhäuser M, Tasian SK, Rettig MP, Davidson-Moncada J, DiPersio JF, Rutella S. Immune landscapes predict therapeutic resistance, immunotherapy response and clinical outcomes in acute myeloid leukemia. Science Translational Medicine 2020; 12: eaaz0463.

3.   Vadakekolathu J, Lai C, Reeder S, Church SE, Hood T, Lourdusamy A, Rettig MP, Aldoss I, Advani AS, Godwin J, Wieduwilt MJ, Arellano M, Muth J, Yau TO, Ravandi F, Sweet K, Altmann H, Foulds GA, Stölzel F, Middeke JM, Ciciarello M, Curti A, Valk PJM, Löwenberg B, Gojo I, Bornhäuser M, DiPersio JF, Davidson-Moncada JK, Rutella S. TP53abnormalities correlate with immune infiltration and associate with response to flotetuzumab immunotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia. Blood Advances 2020; 4 (20): 5011–24.

4.   Wagner S, Vadakekolathu J, Tasian SK, Altman H, Bornhäuser M, Pockley AG, Ball GR, Rutella S. A parsimonious 3-gene signature predicts clinical outcomes in an acute myeloid leukemia multi-cohort study. Blood Advances 2019; 3: 1330–46.

Dr David Boocock:

1. Multiomic analysis of stretched osteocytes reveals processes and signalling linked to bone regeneration and cancer.  Lívia Santos, Aslihan Ugun-Klusek, Clare Coveney, David J Boocock.  npj Regenerative Medicine volume 6, Article number: 32 (2021)

2.Homocitrullination of lysine residues mediated by myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumour environment is a target for cancer immunotherapy.  Katherine W Cook, Wei Xue, Peter Symonds, Ian Daniels, Mohamed Gijon, David Boocock, Clare Coveney, Amanda K Miles, Sabaria Shah, Suha Atabani, Ruhul H Choudhury, Poonam Vaghela, Daisy Weston, Rachael L Metheringham, Victoria A Brentville, Lindy G Durrant.  J Immunother Cancer. 9(7): e001910. (2021)

3. β2-Adrenergic Signalling Promotes Cell Migration by Upregulating Expression of the Metastasis-Associated Molecule LYPD3. Michael Gruet, Daniel Cotton, Clare Coveney, David J. Boocock, Sarah Wagner, Lucie Komorowski, Robert C. Rees, A. Graham Pockley, A. Christopher Garner, John D. Wallis, Amanda K. Miles, and Desmond G. Powe. Biology. 9:2. (2020)

4. A new inhibitor of glucose-6-phospate dehydrogenase blocks pentose phosphate pathway and suppresses malignant proliferation and metastasis in vivo.  Michele Caraglia, Luigi Mele, Francesca Paino, Federica Papaccio, Tarik Regad, David Boocock, Paola Stiuso, Angela Lombardi, Davide Liccardo, Gabriella Aquino, Antonio Barbieri, Claudio Arra, Clare Coveney, Marcella La Noce, Gianpaolo Papaccio, Virginia Tirino, and Vincenzo Desiderio.    Cell, Death and Disease. 9, Article number: 572. (2018)

How you can help

Our work is entirely dependant on the generous donations from our alumni and supporters. Here's how you can help us improve the lives of those affected by cancer.

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