The Movember Centres of Excellence are led by a distinguished team of scientists and clinicians.

Professor Richard Marais, Manchester

Professor Marais is Scientific Co-Director of the Belfast-Manchester Movember Centre of Excellence, and Director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.  His previous work, and most of the current focus of his lab, is on cancer cell signalling in melanoma; the most serious form of skin cancer.

In particular, Professor Marais’ group is interested in how the BRAF protein triggers skin cancer; work which has already contributed to the development of Vemurafenib, a melanoma treatment that can extend the lives of melanoma patients whose tumours have a BRAF mutation.

Professor Marais’ contribution to cancer research has been widely recognised.  He was elected Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2007. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences and became an EMBO member and then in 2011, he received the Society for Melanoma Research Estella Medrano Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to melanoma research.

With the launch of the Movember Centre of Excellence, Professor Marais will apply his extensive experience in cancer signalling and genetics, his insights from melanoma research, as well as the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute’s strong track record in developing and improving radiotherapy treatments to the outstanding questions of prostate cancer research. Professor Marais will lead on projects focussing on understanding the genetic basis of high risk prostate cancer and resistance to radiotherapy.

This is very exciting for the future of prostate cancer research. We have established a unique collaboration that will bring together knowledge and insights from across different cancers and disciplines, which will enable us to tackle some of the complexities still surrounding this disease from a new perspective. Crucially, by working in partnership we also hope to increase the speed at which lab breakthroughs reach the man in the clinic and have a direct impact on patient outcomes.

- Professor Richard Marais

Professor David Waugh, Belfast

Professor David Waugh is Scientific Co-Director of the Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence and Director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s University Belfast. His research is focused on understanding the molecular causes of prostate cancer, and why advanced prostate cancer becomes resistant to hormone therapy.

Professor Waugh sits on a number of cancer research advisory boards, including the Irish Association for Cancer Research, the Prostate Cancer National Steering Group (Ireland) and the EACR Presidents Council.

As part of the Movember Centre of Excellence, Professor Waugh will use his extensive understanding of the molecular basis of prostate cancer, and eventual resistance to therapy to lead projects that focus on the genetic basis of radiotherapy resistance and finding ways to improve how well chemotherapy to repair damaged DNA works for metastatic prostate cancer.

The Belfast-Manchester Centre has been an exciting concept to develop. Its true promise lies in the real partnerships that have been forged between world-leading experts in Manchester and Belfast to bring forward new discoveries that address very significant problems in treating prostate cancer patients. I am confident that our research will contribute to hastening the change for men afflicted with prostate cancer.

- Professor David Waugh

Professor Noel Clarke, Manchester

Professor Noel Clarke is Clinical Co-Director of the Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence and Professor of Urological Oncology at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.  His specialist expertise is in prostate, bladder, renal and testis cancer.

Professor Clarke is currently director of The University of Manchester’s Genitourinary Cancer Research Group, a member of the Department of Health and National Cancer Research Network prostate cancer advisory boards and chair of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer prostate disease group.

Professor Clarke will lead a project to expand and co-ordinate Manchester and Belfast’s bio banks to allow extensive analysis of prostate cancer samples, and another to test a method of identifying men at high risk of relapse following prostate cancer surgery.

The Movember Centre of Excellence award to Belfast-Manchester is a fantastic achievement for our combined team. In the next 5 years it will provide an opportunity to change the way we approach prostate cancer research in the UK. I am looking forward to working as a combined team of clinicians and scientists to develop new knowledge and ideas which can be used for patients. I am excited about what we can achieve for men through this project and we are confident that we will improve our understanding of prostate cancer and its treatment with this exciting initiative.

- Professor Noel Clarke

Professor Joe O’Sullivan, Belfast

Professor O’Sullivan is Clinical Co-Director of the Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence. He is chair of radiotherapy development and clinical lead for radiotherapy at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre and Chair of the Uro-Oncology Multidisciplinary Team at the Belfast Trust.

He also leads the radiation oncology and prostate cancer clinical research groups at the Northern Ireland Cancer Centre, Belfast, and is principal investigator on more than 10 clinical trials. He has a particular interest in developing new therapies in the areas of Radiation Therapy, and bone-seeking radionuclide therapy.

As part of the Belfast-Manchester Centre of Excellence, Professor O’Sullivan will lead on projects to optimise radionuclide therapy for advanced prostate cancer, including pre-clinical and clinical studies of Radium 223.

This research programme will increase the speed of clinical advances by taking a fresh approach to prostate cancer research involving state of the art technology and a genuine collaborative approach.

- Professor Joe O’Sullivan

Professor Johann de Bono, London

Professor Johann de Bono is director of the London Centre of Excellence and Director of the Drug Development Unit at the Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden hospital.  Professor de Bono’s distinguished career has been built around developing new therapies for advanced cancer patients, including for men with advanced prostate cancer.

In fact, Professor de Bono was instrumental in the development of Abiraterone, the first therapeutic option to improve survival for men with advanced prostate cancer. Professor de Bono has also led on the clinical development of cabazitaxel and enzalutamide.

The particular approach that Professor de Bono uses in his drug development work is called molecular targeted therapy – this means finding a way to kill the cancer cells, while minimising damage to healthy cells, therefore reducing side effects for the patient.

Professor de Bono’s extensive experience in developing new drugs for advanced prostate cancer will be hugely beneficial to the London Centre of Excellence, where he will be working on projects to further advance new treatments for advanced prostate cancer, and developing strategies to identify which men with advanced prostate cancer will respond best to each therapy type.

The team leading the London Centre of Excellence is well positioned to have a major impact on the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer with an outstanding team of world-leading researchers and access to the best new drugs and technology. We believe that we will further improve prostate cancer care in our lifetime, significantly impacting the lives of men with prostate cancer with better screening tests, better tests to distinguish ‘pussycat prostate cancers’ from ‘tiger prostate cancers.

- Professor Johann de Bono