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Dr Andrew Sanders

Dr Andrew Sanders

Research Fellow

+44 (0)29 2068 7074
Henry Wellcome Building


Following graduation from Cardiff University with a degree in Applied Biology I joined the Metastasis and Angiogenesis Research Group to undertake a Cancer Research Wales sponsored PhD studentship focused on Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) activators and inhibitors and their implication in prostate cancer metastasis.  After successfully attaining my PhD, I have continued to work within the Metastasis and Angiogenesis Research Group and the Cardiff China Medical Research Collaborative, continuing my research focused on identifying mechanisms of metastasis and the associated potential for therapeutic intervention.  

Within this important research area, I have a particular interest and focus on the cytoskeletal protein EPLIN (Epithelial Protein Lost In Neoplasm), its role in regulating cancer progression and the associated up- and down-stream mechanisms surrounding EPLINs regulation of this process.


Education and qualifications

* 2004 – 2007; PhD in Cancer Biology, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK

* 2000 – 2003; BSc in Applied Biology (1st class Hons), Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Career overview

* Dec 2011 - Present:  Research Associate/Fellow, Cardiff University.  Research project exploring potential mechanisms responsible for the metastatic dissemination and predisposition of prostate cancer cells to the bone environment.

* May 2011 - Nov 2011: Research Associate, Cardiff University. Six month project characterising gene expression within clinical wound samples and potential diagnostic markers.

* May 2007 - May 2011: Research Associate, Cardiff University. Four year project to identify Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) regulated gene expression and potential therapeutic implications of   targeting these candidate genes.

* Oct 2004 – May 2007: PhD studentship, Cardiff University.  Studentship exploring the potential of the Type II transmembrane serine protease family members, the matriptases, in prostate cancer metastasis.

Honours and awards

* Travel award (WM Thomas Grant) to attend the European Cancer Conference (ECCO), Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2017.

* Travel award (Morgan E Williams Grant), to attend the National Gastric Cancer Academic Conference (NGCAC) and the China-United Kingdom Cancer Conference 2014, Beijing, China 2014

* Travel award (William Morgan Thomas Grant), to attend the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium conference, San Antonio, USA 2011.

* British Prostate Group (BPG) scientific presentation prize, Cardiff, UK, 2006

Academic positions

* June 2015 – present: Research Fellow, Cardiff University

* Dec. 2011 – May 2015: Research Associate, Cardiff University

* May 2011- Nov.2011: Research Associate, Cardiff University

* May 2007 – April 2011: Research Associate, Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

* 2014: National Gastric Cancer Academic Conference, Beijing, China

* 2014: China-United Kingdom Cancer Conference 2014, Beijing, China

* 2012: Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK

* 2010: European Tissue Repair Society conference, Gent, Belgium

* 2006: British Prostate Group Meeting, Cardiff, UK

Committees and reviewing

*  2015: China – UK cancer academic committee




















My research is focused in the field of cancer metastasis, the process through which cancer cells spread away from the primary tumour and establish at secondary locations. Cancer metastasis is a major factor in influencing patient outlooks and is responsible for the majority of cancer related mortality.

I am particularly interested in the mechanisms that regulate and contribute to the cells ability to undergo metastasis and how such mechanisms can be exploited for therapeutic benefit or used as markers to predict progression. In this area, I have undertaken research investigating the implications of Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), a pro-metastatic factor, in the homing of prostate and breast cancer cells to specific secondary locations and the impact of Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Factor (ALCAM) in such processes and as a serum derived biomarker in prostate cancer progression.

Additionally, I have a strong interest and research focus on the cytoskeletal protein Epithelial Protein Lost In Neoplasm (EPLIN). EPLIN is often lost as cancer progresses and research undertaken within Cardiff has helped to identify EPLIN as a regulator of key metastatic traits and as a metastasis suppressor. I am particularly interested in the mechanisms surrounding EPLIN’s loss in cancer cells and the complex mechanisms and interactions through which it acts.  


Current PGR Supervision

Mr Jianyuan Zeng – PhD studentship, co-supervised with Professor Wen Jiang & Dr Rachel Hargest

Mr Michal Uhercik – MD studentship, co-supervised with Professor Wen Jiang & Dr Tracey Martin


Completed PGR students

Dr Xiangyu Gao (MD) – co-supervised with Dr Rachel Hargest & Dr Jun Cai

Dr Ross Collins (PhD) – co-supervised with Professor Wen Jiang

Dr Yi Feng (PhD) – co-supervised with Professor Wen Jiang & Professor Keith Harding

Past projects