Professor Alan Clarke

Professor Alan Clarke

Professor Clarke is the Director of The European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute. He is based at the School of Biosciences, where he is also leader of the School's Pathophysiology and Repair Research Division.

Professor Clarke is also Director of the Cardiff Cancer Research UK Centre. This is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, Cardiff University, Velindre NHS Trust and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. It aims to boost research activities in the city and increase the rate at which findings are translated into therapies for certain cancers, tailored to patient needs.

Professor Clarke's main interest is in the molecular basis of cancer, particularly in the very early stages when cells initially diverge from normality.

His research team has expertise in modelling intestinal, breast and prostate tumours and the ability to use these to study the relationship between normal stem cells and cancer stem cells, and how these different cell populations contribute to tumorigenesis. His group also has a track record in preclinical testing of new drugs for breast cancer, which is now being extended to intestinal and prostate tumours.

It is anticipated that Professor Clarke's group will work with the Research Institute on the genetic origins of cancer stem cells, and the susceptibility of these cells to existing and new therapies. His laboratory will also develop new models to directly test the relevance of cancer stem populations and their role in tumour development.

Professor Clarke said: "We have always treated cancer by shrinking the tumour, without regard to the cell types making it up. Our objective is to establish how crucial is this sub-population of cancer stem cells. If we target them alone, can we make cancer therapy much more efficient?"