Cancer cells


Group lead
Dr Harpreet Wasan

Related themes

Disease areas

What we do

We aim to understand why pancreatic cancers do not respond to chemotherapy, and develop ways to overcome this. We combine bioinformatic and functional studies to identify new therapeutic targets, with particular interest in DNA damage response pathways. We are also interested in delineating mechanisms by which these targets regulate chemoresponse. Complementary to this, our clinical trials assess new treatments for pancreatic cancer. 

Why it is important

Pancreatic cancer carries an extremely poor prognosis with a 5-year survival rate of <5% and a median survival of 4-8 months. It is predicted to soon become the 2nd leading cause of cancer-related deaths. Tumours are resistant to virtually all therapeutic strategies currently available and new approaches are urgently needed. We aim to identify new therapeutic strategies, understand how they may be best used, and bring them to clinical use. 

How it can benefit patients

We aim to use our laboratory data to develop new therapeutic strategies for pancreatic cancers. Understanding how these work will identify patients who will benefit most, and allow tailored treatments to be designed.  Translating our research into clinical applications will provide a greater range of treatment options for chemoresistant disease. Our clinical trials team is already offering new treatments to patients with pancreatic cancer.

Summary of current research

  • siRNA screening to identify therapeutic and chemosensitisation targets within the DDR network
  • bioinformatics analysis to identify drivers of cancer progression and chemoresponse
  • mechanistic studies to define DDR-related signalling pathways that regulate chemoresponse
  • proteomic analysis to identify mechanisms of drug action and biomakers of response
  • pre-clinical development of inhibitors that target: DNA-PKcs, PI3K, mTOR, RAS
  • We have a large portfolio of clinical trials for patients with pancreatic cancer


For patients


PhD students

When we have funding for PhD studentships, we advertise them through central channels such as Find a PhD. Information is also available on the Surgery and Cancer study page. If no studentships are currently advertised, please get in touch with the group lead with proposed project titles to discuss further. 

Current PhD students: 

  • Yuliana Astuti
  • Mohana Suppiah

Our researchers

Dr Harpreet S Wasan

Dr Harpreet S Wasan

Dr Harpreet S Wasan
Professor of Practice (Medical Oncology)