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Professor Aled Clayton

Professor Aled Clayton

School of Medicine

+44 (0)29 2251 0589
GF16, Tenovus Building, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4XN

I established the first group investigating the roles of extracellular vesicles (exosomes) in cancer in the UK.The group has published well over 30 papers in relation to vesicles, and their roles in subverting immune responses, in controlling the cancer microenvironment and as potential disease biomarkers.

I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which vesicle biogenesis and secretion is controlled, and the impact such vesicles have on the development and progression of cancer; particularly focussing on prostate cancer. Developing tools and assays to quantify nano-vesicles in biological fluid specismens is also an important aspect of the group's activities.

The laboratories are based at the Velindre Cancer Centre, the principal cancer treatment hospital in Wales, and are equipped with specialist instrumentation geared towards the study of exosome-vesicles.

Although my main focus is in cancer biology, I collaborate broadly with researchers in Cardiff and other Universities, on aspects including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and other conditions that impact our society in significant ways.

Career overview

  • Professor (August 2017- present), Division of Cancer & Genetics, Cardiff University
  • Snr Lecturer (08/2013-07/2017), Division of Cancer & Genetics, Cardiff University
  • Lecturer; (08/2004 to 07/2013), School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • Research Fellow (01/1999 to 07/2004) School of Medicine, Cardiff University
  • Research Fellow, (10/1996 to 12/1998) School of Medicine, Cardiff University

Education & qualifications

  • 1997: PhD (Medicine), Institute of Nephrology, University of Wales College of Medicine.
  • 1998: Diploma in Biomedical methods, University of Wales College of Medicine.
  • 1993: BSc (Hons) Biochemistry,  University of Wales College Cardiff

Professional memberships

Speaking engagements

  • 2017: Science Seminar, The School of Clinical Dentistry, Sheffield, UK.
  • 2016: Frontiers of Science, University of Turku, Finland
  • 2016: Meet the Experts, International Society for Extracellular Vesicles Annual Congress, Rotterdam, NL
  • 2015: Plenary Speaker, 11th World Congress on urological Research (ESUR-SBUR15), Nijmegen, NL
  • 2014: University of Oslo, Science Seminar Series
  • 2013: United Kingdom Extracellular Vesicle Forum, Society for Endocrinology, Royal Veterinary College, London
  • 2013: Cancer Research Wales Symposium, Cardiff.
  • 2012: Cancer Biology Seminar Series, CR-UK Patterson Institute, Manchester, UK.
  • 2012: Science Seminar Series, The School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Science Cardiff

Session Chair

  • 2017: International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, Toronto
  • 2016: International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, Rotterdam. Diamond Session and others
  • 2015: United Kingdom Extracellular Vesicle Forum, Host.
  • 2014: International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, Rotterdam.
  • 2014: United Kingdom Extracellular Vesicle Forum.
  • 2013: International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, Boston

Workshop Chair

2017 December: International Society for Extracellular Vesicles, Birmingham University, UK. Extracellular Vesicles as Disease Markers.

Committees and reviewing

External Committees

  • 2017: Science Committee & Membership Committee, United Kingdom EV Society
  • 2017: Organising Committee. Royal Society Discussion Meeting; EV's in the Tumour Microenvironment (published reports)
  • 2015-2017: NCRI Clinical Studies Group - Molecular Biomarkers Advisory Group
  • 2015- United Kingdom Extracellular vesicle Forum, annual conference organiser and co-organiser 2014, 2016 ongoing.
  • 2016- International Society for Extracellular vesicles, Annual Conference Local Organising Committee, Rotterdam
  • 2016-2017- Organising Committee, Royal Society Discussion Meeting, EV in the Cancer Microenvironment, London 2017.

PhD Examiner

  • 2018. Examination Chair, Cardiff PhD
  • 2017. External Examiner, PhD St Andrews.
  • 2017. Internal Examiner, PhD, Cardiff.
  • 2016 Examination Chair, Cardiff M.D.
  • 2016. External Examiner, PhD Leicester University
  • 2015. Second Opponent, PhD Oslo, Norway
  • 2014. External Examiner, PhD Oxford Brookes
  • 2013. Internal Examiner, PhD, Cardiff


























Intercalated BSc and Pharmacology degrees:

  • Develop and mark lab-based research projects.
  • Mark student research presentations

College of Biomedical Life Science

  • MSc in Cancer Biology (2016)

Postgraduate Students

PhD Supervisor:

  • Mr Alex Cocks (2015-2018), co-supervisors Prof. Arwyn T Jones (PHRMY) and Dr Peter Watson (BIOSCI)
  • Miss. Thea Konstintaneau, co-supervised with Prof. Rachel Errington
  • Miss Lauren Evans, co-supervised with Prof. R. Errington & Dr Z Tabi
  • Miss Francesca Polveraccio, co-supervised with Dr Jason Webber & Prof. E Costanza (BrIstol UIoversity)
  • Miss Sara Viega, co-supervised with Dr Jason Webber


  • Miss Donna Mathews (Vesicles in Cardio Vascular Disease), supervised with Dr Aled Rees & Prof Philip James
  • Mr Robert Knight (Vesicles in wound healing), supervised with Prof Philip Stephens and Dr Julie Albon
  • Mr Ben Lanning (micro RNA and vesicles in cancer), supervised with Dr Alwyn Dart & Dr Bronwen Evans

Recently completed PhD candidates

  • Mr Rhodri Thomas (Vesicle RNA in Alzheimer's Disease), supervised with Prof Julie Williams, February 2018
  • Miss Hope Roberts Dalton, (PHRMY), supervised by Prof Arwyn T Jones. December 2017
  • Mr Vincent Yeung, co-supervisor Dr Jason Webber. July 2017.

We are interested in understanding how cells produce small fat-bubbles (vesicles), and why they seem to do this so extensively. Our studies focus on the role of such bubbles in changing the immediate surroundings of the cancer tissue. it seems these bubbles (exosomes) can interfere with the correct function of immune cells, they can encourage formation of blood vessels, and can hijack other neighbouring cells to behave abnormally- all of these effects assist the growth and ultimate spread of the tumour.

We can also detect exosomes in the urine and blood of cancer patients, and we are working hard on developing new methods to isolate exosomes from biological fluids, and to use these as means of discovering new indicators of disease. We have examined the complex array of protein molecules on the vesicles, and are beginning to also look at RNA-molecules, which hide inside the bubble.

Together, these studies will provide much needed information about how the cancer cells can dominate and take-over their microenvironments. Learning how to block these effects is likely to be very useful therapeutically. Pperhaps we can also use the presence of exosomes in urine/blood as future tests to support diagnoses and monitoring of cancer.

Funding sources

  • Cancer Research Wales, Programme grant:
  • Movember: The Movember Revolutionary Team Award
  • Prostate Cancer UK: British Heart Foundation:
  • British Lung Foundation:
  • CU & ReNeuron:
  • Tenovus Cancer Care:
  • Welsh Assembly Government NRN Sêr Cymru Award: