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Major cancer stem cell appointment

25 November 2011

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Cardiff’s pioneering European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute (ECSCRI) is to be greatly strengthened with the arrival of Dr Matt Smalley.

Dr Smalley will lead a team researching breast cancer when he joins ECSCRI in the Institute in the New Year.

ECSCRI’s focus is on cancer stem cells, a small population of tumour cells believed to be responsible for the formation, growth and spread of cancers. Dr Smalley, presently at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre at the Institute of Cancer Research London, is one of the leading figures in the study of stem cells and breast cancer.

Dr Smalley said: "My interest is in how normal stem cells become cancer stem cells. Essentially, I want to understand how the behaviour of normal stem cells is disrupted during tumour formation. This not only results in breast cancer cells which can mimic stem cell behaviour – cancer stem cells – but also leads to the many different types of breast cancer."

Dr Smalley will lead his team as a Senior Lecturer, working first at the School of Biosciences and then in ECSCRI’s new home in the Hadyn Ellis Building, which is currently under construction.

Dr Smalley said he had heard about ECSCRI from Professor Trevor Dale in the School of Biosciences.

He said: "I had a postdoctoral postion in Trevor’s laboratory in London from 1997-2002. I’ve remained good friends with him and he happened to mention the ECSCRI. Being appointed to this new Institute is a fantastic opportunity to work with some leading figures at Cardiff, in particular Alan Clarke, Trevor Dale and Richard Clarkson. Indeed, there is a diversity of potential collaborators here which will enable me to broaden the approaches I am taking in my research.

"I’m hoping to bring a couple of colleagues with me and build up my team from there. I’m really looking forward to it – it’s very exciting that the University has set up this Institute to focus on this particular aspect of cancer science."

ECSCRI Director Professor Alan Clarke said: "It is a major achievement for our Institute to have attracted someone like Matt Smalley. He is a recognised world figure in the application of cancer stem cell theory to breast cancer. We are very much looking forward to working with him and to seeing exciting new discoveries."

Related Links

The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute