The research activities of my own group have been placed partially in abeyance for the past four years. During this period I have been seconded to act as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, now the world’s largest fundraising, medical research charity. I began my work there in May 2003. In the financial year ended April 2007, Cancer Research UK’s income was £415 million. This massive increase in support from its stake holders has meant that Cancer Research UK has been able to essentially double its research spend during my term of office, a considerable boost to the overall UK biomedical research agenda.
Since 2003, I have also taken on a number of other research responsibilities at national level. From 2003 to 2006, I was Chairman of the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI). The NCRI is formally responsible for the National Cancer Research Network (run initially by Professor Selby and subsequently by Professor Cameron, from Leeds) for late phase clinical trials in cancer and for the operations of the NCRI Clinical Studies Groups, which now provide leadership in determining research priorities for every type of cancer. A National Cancer Information Network is in the process of being established to draw together the work of the nation’s Cancer Registries. I continue to chair the NCRI Cancer Informatics Initiative, which is concerned with provision of the necessary IT infrastructure to support British cancer research and with ensuring that this is co-ordinated with the activities of the National Cancer Institute in the USA.
Finally, during my term of office, an Annual NCRI Cancer Conference has been established. This is a vital forum to enable cancer researchers in the UK to network effectively.
Since 2004, I have served on the Board of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC), and have also served as a member of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Advisory Board since 2006. This body is now responsible for all NHS R&D budgets and spending. As recommended by the Cooksey Report of December 2006, the NIHR will now become an Executive Agency of government and its activities will be co-ordinated with those of the Medical Research Council by the Office for the Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR). I also represent the UK internationally, as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and as a member of the International Affairs Committee of the American Association for Cancer Research.
My research group has historically pursued a wide range of interests in molecular biology and genetics, the molecular basis of cancer and in aspects of translational research in the broadest sense. Currently we are preparing a number of papers for publication that describe some of the bioinformatics tools we have developed to solve particular problems we have encountered ourselves in specific recent projects. We continue to study the effects of infection with the Herpes virus saimiri gene delivery vector on lineage development in human haematopoietic stem cells.
IM Carr, K Flintoff, GR Taylor, AF Markham and DT Bonthron. Interactive visual analysis of SNP data for rapid autozygosity mapping in consanguineous families. Human Mutation, 27, 1041-46 (2006)
MA Hull, OO Faluyi, CW Ko, S Holwell, DJ Scott, RJ Cuthbert, R Poulsom, R Goodlad, C Bonifer, AF Markham and PL Coletta. Regulation of stromal cell cyclooxygenase-2 in the ApcMin/+ mouse model of intestinal tumorigenesis. Carcinogenesis, 27, 382-391 (2006)
GM Doody, JP Leek, AK Bali, A Ensser, AF Markham and EA de Wynter. Marker gene transfer into human haemopoietic mstem cells using a herpesvirus saimiribased vector. Gene Therapy, 12, 373-379 (2005)