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QMUL alumna appointed as chief scientist of Cancer Research UK

World-leading cancer scientist and QMUL alumna, Professor Karen Vousden CBE, has been appointed as Cancer Research UK’s new chief scientist.

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Professor Vousden did her undergraduate degree at (what was then) Queen Mary College, studying Genetics and Microbiology from 1975 to 1978, and stayed on at the university until 1982 to do a PhD in Genetics.

With a transatlantic 30 year career at the forefront of cancer research, her most significant contribution has been on the study of a tumour suppressor protein called p53 which has a key role in preventing the development of the disease.

Professor Vousden said: “It’s a tremendous honour to be appointed as Cancer Research UK’s chief scientist. Research has already led to better treatments, new drugs, more accurate tests, earlier diagnosis and screening programmes - doubling survival over the last 40 years.

“But sadly survival still remains low for some cancer types, including lung, pancreatic, oesophageal cancer and brain tumours, and we are encouraging more research into these areas. We now understand that within each tumour type are several different sub-groups that may respond very differently to treatment.

“It’s critical that we know more about the core biology at the heart of these cancers to be able to design the most effective therapies and be prepared for the development of resistance to these treatments.”

As chief scientist, Professor Vousden will be responsible for overseeing Cancer Research UK’s scientific research. Her remit will include a focus on the importance of fundamental science in developing new cancer treatments.

A priority will be to continue to support and develop opportunities for the Cancer Research UK scientific community to work with international colleagues as well as supporting the next generation of scientific and clinical cancer researchers.

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